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Leading Logistician Scott Furber, 29, who had been accused of filming a sexual encounter with a crewmember aboard a warship without her permission has been acquitted by a panel of three senior officers after a two-day trial at Portsmouth Naval Base.
The pair could still be punished for breaking the navy’s “no touching” rule.
A brief video looking over this recognition booklet produced for American, British and Canadian forces based in West Germany in 1986 during the height of the Cold War. I found this at a charity shop for 50p but when I got home I discovered these go for around £25 on Ebay as they are becoming something of a collector’s item for those interested in the Cold War.
I will be uploading stills in the future should anyone want to look at it in more depth.
Startling figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that 170 of the 2,700 MoD Police officers currently on duty are under investigation for a wealth of criminal and negligence reasons. This is an increase of nearly 400% compared to just two years ago.
The figures showed that;
86 officers are being investigated for neglect of their duties.
43 for their general conduct whilst on duty.
5 for harassment and bullying.
The rest face possible firearms, sexual conduct, drugs and fraud charges.
The Ministry of Defence Police are tasked with protecting the UK’s military infrastructure at more than 120 military sites around the UK including submarine and air bases and are the only British Police force that carry firearms as standard practice. The investigations come amid an uncertain future for the MoD Police as their budget is being halved from £360m to £180m which means cuts of up to 20% of its personnel and up to 50% of its stations by 2016. This has lead some to claim that low morale may have some part in the increase in investigations but the MoD have dismissed this.
A spokesman for the MoD Police said:
The Chief Constable expects all of his officers and staff to behave with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity, and any allegations of criminal or disciplinary conduct are taken very seriously. Where such allegations are made, they are fully investigated and, if substantiated, the MoDP will respond accordingly with criminal and or disciplinary action.
On August 27th the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the UK have requested the remanufacturing of the British Army Air Corps’ fleet of WAH-64D Apache AH.1 aircraft to a standard equivelent to the US Army’s AH-64E Guardian. The current British aircraft are built to AH-64D Block-I standard and to bring them up to the new standard the aircraft will receive refurbished AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sights (M-TADSs), AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVSs), Northrop Grumman AN/APG-78 mast-mounted fire control radars and additional flight systems. The WAH-64D’s powerplant, the Rolls-Royce RTM 322, will be replaced by the General Electric T-700-GE-701D which is what powers the American aircraft.
The Army Air Corps’ current fleet of 50 WAH-64D helicopters have increasingly suffered obsolescence issues due to many of the aircraft’s transistor chips no longer being in production. To retain its attack helicopter capability to the planned out-of-service date of at least 2040 the Ministry of Defence (MoD) instigated an Apache Helicopter Capability Sustainment project that looked at several options including procuring new build AH-64E Guardians. Now however the UK looks set to have their aircraft completely rebuilt to the new standard which has raised a few quizzical eyebrows in Washington. Boeing offered new build AH-64E Guardian’s to the UK earlier this year at a unit cost of $31m however current estimates at the cost of remanufacturing the UK’s existing fleet of aircraft look set to be double that figure. While at this early stage it is unclear why the MoD seem to be taking the more expensive option it has been suggested that there are long term savings to be made this way.
A Royal Navy RIB like that involved in the collision (eliteforces.info)
A Royal Navy Rigid-hull Inflatable Boat (RIB) sent to intercept a Spanish survey ship trespassing in British waters off the coast of Gibraltar was damaged on Sunday when it struck the survey vessel’s probe. Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident.
In the latest chapter of the centuries long dispute over the ownership of Gibraltar which is currently under British administration the British government issued a strong protest to the Spanish over the survey vessel’s incursion. The Spanish responded by stating that the survey vessel, the Angeles Alvarino, was simply taking readings of a marine nature reserve declared by the Spanish government that includes territory inside Gibraltar’s territorial line.
The Royal Navy commented that the vessel acted in a dangerous and reckless way and that it is fortunate no one was hurt in the incident. The Royal Navy has two Scimitar-class patrol boats and three Pacific Rigid Inflatable Boats operating off Gibraltar.
British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has confirmed a senior “US Official” will be directly involved in the upcoming strategic defence review which will look at all aspects of Britain’s defence. The confirmation comes as US President Barack Obama expressed his concerns over the the UK’s continuing defence cuts which look set to bring defence spending below the 2% of the GDP that NATO membership requires; a situation it must be said is not unique to the UK.
Fallon also confirmed that the UK were liaising with the US Department of Defense over Britain’s role in the international community which in turn will dictate how Britain’s defence spending will be undertaken over the coming years. US Defense Secretary, Ashton B. Carter, warned against further spending cuts to the UK armed forces declaring;
It would be a great loss to the world if [the UK] now took action that would indicate disengagement.”
With more and more NATO countries either unable or unwilling to meet the 2% requirement of NATO membership the US are understandably nervous about one of its biggest allies reducing its spending further especially in light of an increasingly aggressive Russia and the ongoing operations against Islamic State forces. At present only 8 of the 28 members of NATO spend 2% of their GDP on defence including, for the time being, the UK which is the second biggest spender on defence after the United States.
With the UK economy growing it might seem like meeting the target would be easier but in fact it’s not. If anything it’s more difficult as growth requires government investment in order to for it to be maintained. Add to this the financial uncertainty of Britain’s future regarding EU membership and even Scotland looking at a possible second referendum on independence means that never before has the future for the UK looked so uncertain and in such times, unless an immediate foreign threat to the UK appears, defence spending is going to fall low on the list of priorities.