27 Apr 11. Depleted Uranium (DU) Ammunition: Not Currently Used. On two recent occasions (26 & 27 Apr 11) the Armed Forces’ Minister replied to Parliamentary Questions about DU ammunition. The Answers were: “None of the weapons supplied to UK Armed Forces for use over Libya contain depleted uranium” and “The UK is not using depleted uranium weapons in Libya”. Both Questions were asked by newly-elected Members (a Conservative and a Green).
Comment: The situation on DU ammunition was fully explained (by coincidence) in the House of Lords on 26 Apr 11. The Challenger main battle tank’s 120mm anti-tank round is the only in-service DU munition. Two 120mm armour-piercing, fin-stabilised, discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds are available: those with a tungsten penetrator are used in training and those with a DU penetrator may be used on Operations. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/18, 09 May 11)
May 11. Strategic Defence & Security Review (SDSR): Defence Committee Evidence. The First Sea Lord, the Chief of the General Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff are to give evidence to the Defence Committee on the SDSR and the National Security Strategy in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House on 11 May 11 at 14.45hrs.
Comment: As already noted (DNA 11/17) the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chief of the General Staff and the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff will be giving evidence to the Committee on Afghanistan during the same morning (Committee Room 16 at 10.30hrs). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/18, 09 May 11)
04 May 11. Afghanistan and Pakistan: Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) Report. The Foreign Secretary presented (4 May 11) his response to the FAC’s Report on the UK’s foreign policy approach to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary welcomed the FAC’s scrutiny, adding: “Both Countries remain top foreign policy priorities for this Government and it is important that issues around them are properly debated.”
Comment: The FAC Report was published on 2 Mar 11 as HC 514 for £23:00, while the response was published on 5 May 11 as Command 8064 for £6:00. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/18, 09 May 11)
09 May 11. The UK’s decision to extend the life of its Nimrod spy plane for three months will cost an extra £4m ($6.6m) in support of military operations in Libya, UK Defence Procurement Minister Peter Luff said.
“The government are spending s keeping equipment in service in Libya
which they had planned to scrap in their rushed defence review,” Bloomberg quotes the minister as saying. “It’s time for ministers to reopen the review and assess whether the current equipment programme is sufficient for the new threats the UK faces.”
The reconnaissance aircraft, which was due to be grounded on 1 April 2011, will remain in use until the end of June this year. The delayed retirement of two C-130K Hercules transport planes and the frigate HMS Cumberland, has cost the UK government £15,000 and £575,000 respectively. (Source: airforcetechnology.com)
Written Answers to Questions – Monday 9 May 2011
Afghanistan: Armed Conflict
Mr Winnick: To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to have discussions with the US administration on the ending of military operations in Afghanistan earlier than previously planned as a result of the death of Osama bin Laden.
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 3 May 2011, Official Report, column 469, to my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon Central (Gavin Barwell).
BAE Systems: Saudi Arabia
Mr MacShane: To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether he discussed the potential sale of BAE Systems Tactica armoured vehicles with government representatives during his recent visit to Egypt and the Gulf region;
(2) whether he requested documentation from BAE Systems on the export of Tactica armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia prior to his recent visit to the Gulf region;
(3) what discussions he had with representativ