News Round-Up – July 14th 2018

Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II RAF Royal Air Force London

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


General Defence News

Britain’s ’70-year holiday from history is over’, says Defence head
(Telegraph.co.uk)

MoD property deal ‘could cost taxpayer up to £5bn’
(The Guardian)

Schrödinger’s Strike: Who Hit These Buildings in Raqqa, Syria?
(bellingcat)

Boeing Increases Footprint in UK
(Aviation International News)

Ministry of Defence explains why towns across Somerset and Wiltshire are covered in smoke
(Somerset Live)

UK Ministry of Defence looks to replace its Biometric Data Capture System
(Biometric Update)


British Army News

Afghanistan: UK to send 440 more non-combat troops
(BBC News)

The future of the British Army in Europe
(The Defense Post)

British Troops Make Final Preparations For South Sudan Deployment
(Forces Network)

UK army ‘fallen behind Russia and China’ – defence chief
(Daily Star)

I spent my career in the British Army and I know the dangers of privatising the battlefield
(The Independent)

Secret Documents Reveal Thatcher Government Tried To Silence British Sikhs
(HuffPost UK)


Royal Air Force News

RAF Celebrates 100 Years with Spectacular Flyover in London
(The Aviationist)

RAF looks at UAV swarms
(IHS Jane’s 360)

Waddington to operate Protector, with best of British air power on show at Air Tattoo
(GOV.UK)

Britain set to spend 650million dollars buying 200 state of the art air-to-air missiles from the US
(Daily Mail)

Airbus To Support RAF Pumas
(Aviation International News)

IBM Wins Contract for RAF ACCS
(Aviation International News)

RAF recieves 20th Atlas transport aircraft
(GOV.UK)


Royal Navy & Marines News

US Navy Hopes for Commonality – Or at Least Interoperability – With Frigates in Australia, Canada, UK
(USNI News)

British Royal Navy re-dedicates HMS Northumberland to service
(Naval Technology)

Plymouth is united behind Royal Navy shipbuilding campaign
(Plymouth Herald)

WW1 British sailor laid to rest on Arras battlefield
(Centenary News)

Gibraltar First Stop For HMS Argyll On Deployment To The Far East
(Forces Network)

Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

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News Round-up – May 13th 2018

Boeing P-8 Poseidon UK united kingdom royal air force

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


General Defence News

UK MoD lacks funding to buy all equipment it says it needs, parliament finds
(IHS Jane’s 360)

Star Wars style weapons just years away from being used by Brit soldiers and RAF fighter pilots
(Scottish Daily Record)

Hundreds Watch RAF Take Top Boxing Honours Over Army In Cyprus
(Forces Network)

Marshall wins landmark deal for UK in Bangladesh
(Business Weekly)

Royal wedding preparations underway as military personnel seen rehearsing their duties
(Sunday Express)


British Army News

Former SAS commander Lieutenant-General Mark Carleton-Smith is new Army chief
(Sky News)

Veterans hounded over the Troubles deaths will no longer receive amnesty 
(The Sun)

British army instructor posts video of crying recruit and could now face court-martial
(American Military News)

British Army Brass Band makes Major return
(4barsrest.com)

British army to tackle African elephant poachers who fund their Islamic extremism
(Daily Mail)

Ted Heath ordered cover-up of SAS training for undercover Army unit, new book claims
(Belfast Telegraph)


Royal Air Force News

UK parliament launches inquiry into RAF strikes on Mosul and Raqqa
(Middle East Eye)

RAF jets obliterate ISIS complex in huge terror raid
(Daily Star)

First images released of what RAF’s new fleet of Poseidon aircraft will look like
(Press and Journal)

UK and Norway plan anti-submarine co-operation
(IHS Jane’s 360)

RAF, RSAF observe Cerberus Strike
(Air Force Link)

Body of RAF serviceman to be repatriated
(Oxford Mail)

RAF grounds its Vigilant T1 training gliders over safety fears
(The Times)


Royal Navy & Marines News

UK Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Set for US Visit, F-35B Trials
(USNI News)

Give £1bn navy contract to UK firms, Corbyn urges
(Insider.co.uk)

Royal Navy Recognizes 14 Sailors for Bravery
(The Maritime Executive)

Royal Navy acquires first autonomous robot minesweeper
(TechSource)

Royal Navy concludes Information Warrior 2018
(Shephard Media)

The Royal Throwdown: Royal Marines vs US Marine Corps
(Forces Network)

The Home Of Britain’s Nuclear Deterrent Turns 50
(Forces Network)


Disclaimer: All news stories are the property of their respective publishers. Any opinions expressed in the articles are of the person making them. An effort is made to vary news sources as much as possible to avoid political bias.

UK joins trilateral partnership centred around P-8 Poseidon

Boeing P-8I Poseidon

The United Kingdom has joined the United States and Norway in outlining the principles of close cooperation between the three nations in operating the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA). The statement of intent was signed on Thursday at a meeting between each country’s respective defence secretaries in Brussels – Sir Michael Fallon of the UK, James Mattis of the United States and Ine Eriksen Søreide of Norway.

The US Department of Defense issued a statement after the signing saying;

Today, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States signed a statement of intent to lay out guiding principles for a trilateral partnership with P-8A aircraft to address the changing security environment in the North Atlantic.

The agreement among the three NATO countries aims to establish a common framework in operating the advanced aircraft over the strategically significant regions of the North Atlantic and the North Sea. This will concentrate on areas such as maintaining a high of level of readiness and interoperability between them and to share operational experience of the aircraft to better understand how best to utilise the type in future operations.

The P-8 Poseidon is a derivative of the proven Boeing 737 commercial airliner and is developed from the 737-800 series. It is designed for a multitude of long-range maritime missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and reconnaissance missions.

The RAF currently has nine airframes on order to fill the gap left by the retirement of the Nimrod MR.2 and the cancellation of the Nimrod MRA.4 which left the RAF without its own independent fixed wing maritime patrol asset. In order to maintain crew skills, RAF personnel have been serving with their NATO allies aboard their own maritime patrol aircraft and these crewmembers will likely form a cadre of new instructors when the Poseidon arrives.

Manufacture of the aircraft will be carried out across three production lots over a ten-year period with deliveries commencing in 2019 at an estimated cost of £3bn. The British aircraft will initially operate with US weapons and systems until British alternatives become available.

Both Norway and the US are acquiring the aircraft to replace their fleets of ageing P-3 Orions that have served admirably since the 1960s. Norway has five aircraft on order and these are expected to become operational at the same time as the RAF aircraft.

Typhoons deployed to Romania

RAF Typhoon no.3(f) squadronEurofighter Typhoon FGR.4s from the Royal Air Force’s No.3 (Fighter) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby have now deployed to Romania as part of the expansion of NATO’s air policing mission over Eastern Europe. Four aircraft and up to 150 personnel (air and ground crew) deployed to Mihail Kogalniceanu air base in south east Romania on Monday with the deployment expected to last up to four months. After a period of acclimation, the aircraft are reported to formally start operations by May 1st.

Images taken of the pilots taking off from Coningsby show that they are using the new £250,000 Striker II helmet which according to BAE Systems’ own website;

Striker II is a fully digital solution that provides today’s combat pilot with exceptional night vision and target tracking technology within a fully integrated visor-projected HMD system.

BAE Systems’ Striker helmet-mounted display system is based on the company’s unique two-part helmet design. It provides comfort, protection, and helmet stability for fixed- and rotary-wing platforms.

The RAF has had a long history patrolling NATO’s border with Russia having led four deployments of fighter aircraft as part of the alliance’s Baltic air policing mission since 2004. In those instances the aircraft have largely been the sole air defence asset for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. However, Romania has its own fighter force built around the MiG-21 LanceR – an upgraded version of the legendary but increasingly ageing MiG-21 “Fishbed”. The far more modern RAF aircraft will have to integrate in to Romania’s air defence network.

The deployment is part of NATO’s expanded effort to reassure its eastern members that it remains committed to their protection. It has also been reported in the Romanian press that the deployment of NATO fighters to their country is in direct response to a dramatic increase in the number of interceptions carried out by the Romanian Air Force of Russian aircraft over the Black Sea in recent months.

Romania will also host a large scale NATO exercise in July that U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm said in March would include up to 30,000 NATO troops.

RAF Typhoon pilots training with French and US colleagues at Langley AFB

RAF Typhoon Rafale F-22 RaptorThe United States Air Force is hosting a multi-national exercise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia dubbed Atlantic Trident 17. The exercise will begin on April 12th and will continue until the 28th. It will be hosted by the resident 1st Fighter Wing of the USAF equipped with the F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter.

British and French combat aircraft will participate in the exercise in the form of Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4s and Dassault Rafales respectively. The RAF have committed 175 personnel to the exercise with the first contingent having already arrived. Among the US aircraft deployed will be a number of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs which the RAF has on order in its Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) F-35B Lightning II guise along with the Royal Navy.

The exercise will be focused around combat experience the three air arms have gained over Syria and Iraq in recent years but will add an airborne threat element which the pilots will have to defeat in order to complete their strike missions.

USAF Colonel Peter Fesler, 1st Fighter Wing commander said in a press conference;

This exercise was designed to encourage the sharing and development of air combat TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) with our French and UK partners, against a range of potential threats leveraging US Air Force fifth-generation capabilities. This is not only an opportunity to share the capabilities of the aircraft, pilots and maintainers between our nations, but to build friendship, trust and confidence that will improve our interoperability as we go forward.

 

Locals demand investigation into incident between RAF A400 and Gibraltar Police

raf-a400-gibraltar

The RAF transporter and Gibraltar Police (via Daily Mail)

In what could only be described as a dramatic series of events, an RAF Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft found itself deliberately blocked by a Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) car on the runway at Gibraltar International Airport last Wednesday as the officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant for one of the passengers onboard. The RGP car was itself, reportedly pursued onto the runway by an MoD vehicle attempting to stop it from interfering in the aircraft’s take off but was unsuccessful and the RGP vehicle kept the A400 on the tarmac for two hours as the MoD and RGP negotiated over who had jurisdiction in the case.

The incident saw the closure of nearby Winston Churchill Avenue causing major disruptions to local transport and businesses. This also left huge numbers of travellers attempting to head to nearby Spain stranded at the runway barriers and caused vehicle tailbacks deep into the nearby town. Now, the local community want answers as to why the situation was allowed to escalate this far.

The situation arose when the Chief Justice of Gibraltar signed an arrest warrant authorising police officers to detain a serving member of the British armed forces and seize computer equipment belonging to them. When the RGP attempted to carry out the arrest however, the MoD refused to cooperate stating that as a serving member of the armed forces any investigation carried out was under their jurisdiction. When it was found that the person in question was aboard an RAF aircraft about to leave the island the RGP made the drastic decision to stop the aircraft. After two hours the person in question was handed over to the RGP and their laptop was seized.

In the last few days it has been reported in Gibraltar’s local press that the arrest concerned images on the laptop that were “paedophile” in nature but the name of the person in question or which branch of the armed forces they serve in has not been revealed. The MoD have only confirmed an incident had taken place stating;

As this incident has occurred as a result of an on-going police investigation we are unable to comment further at this time.