Westminster attack makes two days of terror in the UK

The incidents that unfolded outside the Houses of Parliament and on Westminster Bridge this afternoon mark two consecutive days of terror attacks on UK soil. While the details of precisely what happened today are still being released to the media what we do know is that a man drove a vehicle in to a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing in to railings. The attack eerily echoes similar attacks carried out in France and Germany over the last year. Figures on casualties remain unconfirmed at this time but at least five people have been seen removed from the scene by ambulance.

He then abandoned the vehicle and at around 1445hrs either he or an accomplice attacked a police officer outside the Houses of Parliament. The police officer was stabbed before the attacker was then shot by armed officers responding to the scene. British Prime Minister Theresa May was still inside the building at the time of the attack on the officer following her weekly Prime Minister’s Questions with the House of Commons and was quickly ushered away by her security team. The House of Commons was then put in to lockdown as the area was searched and secured by police officers.

While the incident at Westminster is getting world attention it has overshadowed a terror attack carried out on UK soil yesterday by Irish dissidents in Strabane, County Tyrone. A bomb exploded near two Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers patrolling Townsend Street at 2030hrs on Tuesday night. The attack occurred just hours after former IRA commander Martin McGuinness’s body was carried through Bogside in Derry just 12 miles away.

PSNI Strabane

PSNI vehicle in Strabane, County Tyrone (BBC)

Speaking to the press, PSNI Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said;

“We are incredibly lucky that the lives of officers and other members of the community were not lost last night.

It is the latest in a string of attacks by Irish dissidents that included a sniper attack on a PSNI officer at a petrol station in north Belfast in January and an attempted bomb attack in the Poleglass area of the city. The Police Federation for Northern Ireland described the attackers who planted the bomb as “terrorists” while many republican politicians voiced their condemnation.

News Round-Up – March 19th 2017

RAF Tornado GR.4 Storm Shadow

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General News

Tory activist: Why is Vladimir Putin’s cyber army trashing my reputation with hateful fake news?
(The Telegraph)

F-35 Successfully Conducts First Firings of MBDA’s ASRAAM
(Seapower)

Ministry of Defence accused of attempting to cover up claims of abuse at top military boarding school
(The Telegraph)


British Army News

British troops arrive in Estonia as German spy chief warns of Russian troop build up
(The Telegraph)

Details emerge of major British Army re-organisation
(IHS Janes)

British, American recon troops share notes
(Stars and Stripes)


Royal Air Force News

The Gazette investigates noise complaints at RAF Odiham
(Basingstoke Gazette)

Fond farewell to Tornado jets as they take off from RAF Lossiemouth for final time
(Aberdeen Journal)

RAF quick reaction jets intercept Russian planes on more than half the days they are scrambled
(The Independant)

Amazing story of how an RAF bomber shot down in WW2 was found 74 years later – thanks to German soldier’s photos
(The Sun)

Underage RAF hero who flew missions against Japanese over Burmese jungle
(Belfast Telegraph)

Give RAF heroes campaign medal for fighting ISIS, says Labour Shadow Defence Secretary
(Mirror)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Royal Navy’s £6.2billion new aircraft carriers could be delayed because of staff shortages
(Mirror)

Royal Navy Lynx HMA8 fleet bows out of service
(Flight Global)

Visit by Britain’s largest warship “demonstrates strength of relationship between UK & Gibraltar”
(GBC)

Faslane and Coulport naval base staff to begin strike action
(Herald Scotland)

Royal Navy acquires a fleet of 48 all-electric vans to reduce its carbon footprint
(Electrek)


Disclaimer: all news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them.

International Bomber Command Centre hit by theives

The site based on Canwick Hill in Lincoln – historically known as “Bomber county” for its link with RAF Bomber Command – was broken in to on Sunday night. The thieves made off with two electric generators and stock totalling around £2,000 that was set aside for an open day that was scheduled to take place on March 19th. Not content with their stolen items, the thieves also shredded a wreath left at the base of the memorial spire.

IBCC Director Nicky Barr told The Lincolnite newspaper;

The team based on the site have been left with no heating, lighting, hot water, drinks or food as a result of the incident.

The International Bomber Command Centre  is still under construction but aims to provide a world-class facility to serve as a focal point for recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for Bomber Command veterans and their families as well as the general public. The project includes recording, preserving and relating the stories of over one million men from all over the world who served with Bomber Command during the World War II.

Inspector Marc Gee, Community Inspector for North Kesteven, said;

This is a despicable crime which shows a total lack of respect for the community and the memory of those who bravely served our country during the war. If you have any information in relation to this crime please get in contact with Lincolnshire Police so that we can bring those responsible to justice.

News Round-Up – March 11th 2017

RAF CHinook HC.2 helicopter

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General News

Private firms could bid to run MoD guard service
(Helensburgh Advertiser)

RAF Chinook airlifts Sea Harrier ‘jump jet’ to new home
(ITV)

Winston Churchill’s SECRET bunkers hidden all over Britain in THESE classified locations
(Express)

British wartime experience in Italy has been brought to life in London
(Apollo)


British Army News

The Queen to re-open National Army Museum
(Royal Central)

Army officer ‘sues defence bosses after helicopter SLICES into his head’
(Daily Star)

Kenyan MP is charged with inciting deadly land invasions after former British Army officer is shot dead on his ranch in the country
(Mail Online)

UK undertakes major collective training review
(IHS Janes)


Royal Air Force News

RAF fighters scrambled to intercept flight from Bucharest and escort it to Birmingham
(Mirror)

£60m RAF Chinook helicopter in near miss with drone as pilot says collision could have downed aircraft
(Telegraph)

Unsung heroics of the last RAF pilot to battle the Luftwaffe in a biplane during World War Two are revealed as his medals sell for £22,000
(Mail Online)

Drone footage shows scale of search for missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague at Milton rubbish dump
(Eastern Daily Press)

The British are coming — to train at Davis-Montham
(Tucson Sentinnel)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Royal navy change course after Iran vessels come close
(Daily Sabah)

Royal Navy’s first Batch 2 River-class patrol vessel named HMS Forth
(Naval Technology)

Royal Navy ‘ghost ship’ with no crew washes up on Cornish beach
(Yahoo)


Disclaimer: all news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them.

Fleet Air Arm Merlins deploy aboard French assault ship

Royal Navy MerlinWhile the UK and French governments continue to mince words regarding the Brexit negotiations, for their respective military forces working together it seems its business as usual. The French Navy amphibious assault ship FS Mistral left Toulon earlier this week to begin the service’s anuual five month Jeanne d’Arc deployment. Joining the ship’s air wing of transport helicopters were two Royal Navy Merlin HC.3A helicopters of the Fleet Air Arm’s No.845 Naval Air Squadron. The British contingent includes up to sixty personnel to operate and maintain the aircraft in support of French forces during the deployment.

Speaking on the deployment, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

France is one of our closest allies and our world class maritime forces are combining to show we can operate together effectively. Whether deployed together at sea, striking Daesh from the air, or contributing to NATO deployments in the Baltics, Britain and France will continue to work hard for our shared security.

Other aircraft deployed aboard the Mistral include a French Navy Dauphin to provide SAR and light utility duties and two French Army Gazelle light observation helicopters. Ground forces onboard will include the French Army’s Embedded Tactical Group. The deployment will take the force to Japan, Guam, Vietnam, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Australia. Barring the vessel is not called to respond to a major incident, the FS Mitsral is expected cover some 24,000 miles.

As well as exercising France’s foreign policies the deployment will provide intensive training for those onboard with the French Navy outlining;

The Jeanne d’Arc mission also integrates elements from other armies and services. Among them were Saint-Cyrians, doctors from the army health service, commissioners of the Armed Forces Commissariat, pupils of the Directorate-General for Armaments and pupils administrators of maritime affairs. A plurality which gives this mission a significant and formative joint dimension for all these young future cadres.

It is within this operational framework that 137 French and foreign pupil officers of the promotion EAOM 2017 make their first operational deployment of long duration.

The social media threat to service personnel

facebook-social-media-armed-forces-uk

There’s no escaping that social media has been playing an increasing part in our everyday lives for the last decade and it is this fact that now have military chiefs worried about what information is being shared online by those under their command. This fear has been reinforced as reports have begun to circulate about fake profiles being created in order to follow the activities and locations of serving personnel and even members of youth cadet organisations.

The MailOnline has published reports from members of the British Army’s University Officers’ Training Corps that shows a worrying increase in the number of fake profiles being created and aimed at befriending members online. Security experts are concerned that with last year’s attempted abduction of an RAF NCO as he jogged near his base, members of Jihadist groups operating in the UK are trying to use social media to plot similar kidnappings or attacks.

Other sources claim that Russia is attempting to carry out covert reconnaissance and intelligence gathering operations on British forces via social media or even use it to recruit or coerce service personnel. It is also likely that news and other media outlets are following service personnel online hoping to uncover a story.

The MoD has been aware of the potential impact social media could have on security for quite some time and in 2012 published a booklet that provided a guide on what was acceptable or not. This included asking the following questions about anything put online;

• What if this ends up on the front page of the papers?
• Would I say this to my CO in front of 100 people?
• Would I leave this information lying on a park bench?
• What if a terrorist or criminal gets this information?

British forces aren’t the only ones who have had to learn this lesson with most of the world’s military and government organisations having to regulate their personnel’s use of social media. In July 2014, a Russian soldier named Sergeant Alexander Sotkin posted a photo of himself online with the image being tagged as having been taken in eastern Ukraine despite Russia repeatedly denying it had Russian soldiers fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels there.

Cyberspace represents many challenges when it comes to security. Firstly, unlike secret military equipment it is readily available to anyone and exists well outside the chain of command. Keeping government secrets has always been a part of military life but instead of shady, backroom dealings with mysterious strangers in trench coats the people trying to gather information online will often seem like anyone else with similar interests, personalities and no obvious indications that they are someone whose goal is more nefarious than simply sharing a funny cat video.

News Round-Up – March 2nd 2017

RAF Tornado GR.4 Storm Shadow

Here are some of the latest British military news stories making the headlines this past week.


General News

MoD Police peninsula row ‘is closed’, says community chief
(Helensburgh Advertiser)

U.K. MOD reveals $2.12B upgrade plan for Scottish bases
(UPI)


British Army

Man held over British Army barracks attack
(RTE)

Why are MoD shrinks investigating childhoods of battle scarred PTSD suffering soldiers?
(Express)

Widow sues the Ministry of Defence after miscarrying FIVE TIMES because her soldier husband suffering from PTSD would hit her in his sleep
(Daily Mail)


Royal Air Force

Corrie McKeague: police searching for missing RAF gunner arrest man
(Guardian)

British RAF flights from Brazil to the Falklands anger Argentina
(The Telegraph)

British Air Force A400M airlifters prepped for tactical missions
(Defense News)


Royal Navy & Marines

Is Sir John Parker Advocating a Snatch Land Rover for the Royal Navy?
(RUSI)

RN completes last Sea Skua high seas firing
(IHS Janes 360)

Royal Navy’s upgraded HMS Westminster welcomes its first helicopter in two years
(Naval Technology)

Disclaimer: all news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them.