News Round-Up – December 12th 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth Royal Navy CVF carrier

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


General Defence News

Armed Forces face ‘completely unacceptable’ delay to pay rise
(Telegraph)

Theresa May orders ministers to cool public dispute over defence
(The Guardian)

Qatar Goes Ahead With $6.7 Billion Typhoon Combat Jets Deal With UK’s BAE Systems
(U.S. News & World Report)

The F-35 could intercept a North Korean missile launch — but it could bring an all-out war
(AOL)

Forces children’s charity which scooped a Sun Millie faces closure after Government denies funding
(The Sun)

‘Prepare for invasion’ Ex-MoD UFO chief drafts WAR PLAN for future ALIEN assault
(Express)

EU Army to be formed by 2025 – but France and Germany CLASH over defence plans
(Express)


British Army News

Can you find the camouflaged soldier hidden in this viral photo?
(Atlanta Journal)

Indian & British Army flex muscles in joint anti-terrorism exercise
(India Today)

Tank Driving Trainers To Strike
(Forces Network)

Royal Office minister meets top British military official
(Times of Oman)

New Capita system has left British Army recruits unable to register online
(The Register)


Royal Air Force News

Corrie McKeague: Mother of missing RAF serviceman ‘now knows’ her son is not in landfill
(ITV News)

Member of Brunei royal family was on RAF training course in Shropshire
(Shropshire Star)

RAF Typhoons Return To Fly Sorties Over Estonia
(Forces Network)

Youngster donates his Christmas money to help Bournemouth veteran after RAF plea
(Bournemouth Echo)

How Sly;RAF Tornado crews repeatedly killed US Navy F-14s and F/A-18s in training
(The Drive)


Royal Navy & Marines News

The Queen commissions the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier – HMS Queen Elizabeth (Telegraph)

MoD confirms it is in talks with Brazil over sale of Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean
(Plymouth Herald)

Head of the Royal Navy will fight for our Royal Marines ‘every step of the way’
(Plymouth Herald)

Plymouth could lose 1400 sailors and submariners as Devonport fleet comes under attack
(Plymouth Herald)

I was invited on the Royal Navy’s newest and most powerful aircraft carrier — here’s what it was like
(Business Insider)

Dockyard union calls on Royal Navy work for Rosyth to stave off job cuts
(The Courier)

Ex-RN helicopter in Irish service to be named after crewmember lost in accident
(Irish Examiner)

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 – November 27th 2017

UK United Kingdom Royal air force navy raf f-25b lightning II VSTOL

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


General Defence News

UK government set to compromise over defence cuts after Tory revolt
(The Guardian)

As pressures mount over the funding of UK defence, has a ‘fog of war’ descended over the arms industry?
(Telegraph)

Theresa May To Reaffirm UK’s Commitment To European Security Amid Fresh Brexit Talks
(Forces Network)

F-35 fighter jet production ‘provided massive boost to UK economy’
(BT.com)

‘WW2’ shell handed in to Exeter police
(BBC News)

Morgan Sindall Wins GBP250 Million Contract From UK Defence Ministry
(Interactive Investor)

‘We keep searching’ for Argentine sub after ‘explosion’ report, navy says
(fox6now)

Thorntons Christmas ad passes on the love to armed forces charity
(The Drum)


British Army News

Joint exercise of Indo-UK armies to be held in Bikaner
(Times of India)

Family of men killed by SAS in Afghanistan given £3364 by British Government
(The Independent)

New Technology Recovers Fingerprints From IEDs And Fired Ammunition
(Forces Network)

James Corry: IRA bomber ‘released from German jail after four days’
(The Irish News)

British Army explores augmented reality
(Shephard Media)

The War On Poaching: British Forces On The Front Line
(Forces Network)


Royal Air Force News

RAF base continues preparations for fighter jet arrival
(ITV News)

The Spitfire that time couldn’t bury
(Yorkshire Post)

‘Keep Windscreens Clean To Prevent Collisions’, Fighter Pilots Advised
(Forces Network)

Firefighting museum vehicles moved out of RAF Scampton
(BBC News)

RAF Benevolent Fund create digital storytelling experience for supporters
(UK Fundraising)

RAF Atlas takes over in Middle East
(IHS Jane’s 360)

RAF Recruits Gear Up for 100th Anniversary
(Forces Network)

UK aims to certify P-8 by early 2019
(IHS Jane’s 360)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Royal Navy sailors perform Changing of the Guard in historic first
(Telegraph)

Royal Navy ship HMS Diamond ‘breaks down’ in Gulf
(BBC News)

Call to save HMS Repulse before WWII resting place of 500 Royal Navy crewmen is destroyed by Java Sea looters
(Telegraph)

Royal Navy frigates at Portsmouth and Devonport reorganised
(BBC News)

Kernel of truth: Life-sized nutcrackers reveal key moments in naval history
(Shropshire Star)

British Royal Navy’s HMS Albion training exercise continues
(Naval Technology)

Centenary of Women’s Royal Naval Service marked at Ulster Museum
(Belfast Newsletter)

BAE Systems awarded £18m Royal Navy contract
(Insider Media)


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.

News Round-Up – November 20th 2017

British Army Challenger 2 II main battle tank

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


General Defence News

Britain’s new military BFF (Best Friend France)
(POLITICO.eu)

MoD Figures Show British Armed Forces Falling In Strength
(Forces Network)

Former Defence Ministers Call For More Cash To Be Pumped Into The Armed Forces
(Forces Network)

Putin Wants to Rebuild Soviet Union, Former Head of British Army Warns
(Newsweek)

Fightback over defence cuts as political choices jeopardise our nation’s security
(Mirror)

£2500 Ministry of Defence grant pays for therapy garden at primary school
(Schools Week)

Jet engine inventor’s son visits Wright-Patterson
(Dayton Daily News)

Royal Navy And British Army Unite For Drill Practice
(Forces Network)


British Army News

Tanks here to stay say army on Battle of Cambrai’s 100-year anniversary
(Times & Star)

The Battle of Cambrai: ‘We had a sense of victory for the first time’
(BBC News)

Is the British Army on the Verge of Developing Super Ammo?
(The National Interest Online)

British military dog receives highest honor for valor
(KOMO News)

Goodbye Comfort Zone: Teenagers Get Taste Of Army Life
(Forces Network)

British Invasion! Royal Army sending more troops to train at Ft Polk
(KALB News)

Francis Rowntree killing ‘not justified’ – coroner
(BBC News)

Joseph Parker inquest: New witness ‘saw soldier shoot at man’
(BBC News)


Royal Air Force News

David Davis demanded the RAF fly him to Brexit negotiations
(Business Insider Nordic)

New Air Training Corps members recite the ‘cadets promise’
(Lynn News)

RAF Shawbury officer awarded flight safety award for drone awareness campaign
(Shropshire Star)

Babcock seals the deal for £160m worth of contracts with the Royal Air Force
(City A.M.)

UK RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John Hillier calls on ACM Dhanoa
(City Today)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Crack Royal Navy squad sent in to save missing Argentina submarine crew from beneath the waves
(The Sun)

Ex-Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown warns Royal Marines could ‘disappear in six years
(Mirror)

Queen to commission Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth on 7 December
(Naval Technology)

Royal Navy sailors set for a historic first as they guard the Queen
(The Portsmouth News)

Trident submarine plans facing a ‘perfect storm’ of problems, says MoD report
(Herald Scotland)

Royal Navy divers destroy wartime bomb found 60m from North Sea gas pipe
(Norfolk Eastern Daily Press)

Royal Navy commanders to use drones to track Russian ships near British waters
(Express)

Royal Navy rescues solo yachtsman stricken in rough seas in Bay of Biscay
(Sky News)


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.

Group Captain Leonard Cheshire interview

In the third of the RAF Centre for Air Power Studies rarely-seen before historic ‘leadership’ themed videos, inspirational wartime leader and world-renowned humanitarian, Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire VC OM DSO** DFC is interviewed by Group Captain (later Air Vice-Marshal) Tony Mason CB CBE DL at the RAF Staff College, Bracknell, February 1978. During the interview Group Captain Cheshire discusses his now legendary record of achievements throughout his service during WWII.

Group Captain Cheshire received a commission as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on November 16th 1937. Although he demonstrated considerable prowess in training as a single seat pilot, by a vagary of the system he was destined to be posted to Bomber Command. During the War his command appointments included 76 Squadron, 617 Squadron, and RAF Marston Moor and he was, at one time, the youngest group captain in the RAF. By July 1944 he had completed a total of 102 missions, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation simply states: ‘Cheshire displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader’.

After the war, Cheshire founded the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability and devoted the remainder of his life to pursuing humanitarian ideals. His obituary in the Independent (1992) declares that ‘LEONARD CHESHIRE was one of the most remarkable men of his generation, perhaps the most remarkable’.

News Round-Up – November 13th 2017

Prince charles remembrance service 2017

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


General Defence News

Prince Charles steps in to lay wreath as Queen observes
(Metro)

Prince Harry breaks military rules while at Remembrance Day parade by having a beard
(Mirror)

UK military ‘must evolve to match threats we face’, says Armed Forces chief
(Sky News)

Defence Secretary: “We Must Never, Ever Flinch In The Face Of Aggression”
(Forces Network)

Britain will lose NATO clout if defence cuts continue, warns top US general
(Telegraph)

A European Army is not happening, Ministry of Defence claims
(Blasting News)

Australian, British Forces Help Vietnamese People’s Army Prepare for South Sudan
(Sputnik International)

Far-Right groups are trying to hijack British symbols and institutions for their own warped ideals
(Telegraph)

Troops on tax credits as civilian staff get more than £7m in bonuses this year
(Daily Star)


British Army News

British Army’s Kenya training threatened by land row
(Telegraph)

UK tanks to receive ‘state of the art upgrades’ in MAJOR £1.4billion restoration programme
(Express)

Serving soldier Semesa Rokoduguni dedicates try to his Army colleagues
(The Independent)

Landmark documentary to reveal Britain’s “forgotten” Chinese army in WWI
(Xinhua)

Army officers tell of helping London Bridge attack wounded
(Forces Network)

Reclaiming Remembrance: ‘I thought it was a white event’
(BBC News)

Top republican Copeland seeks new probe into father’s killing by Army
(Belfast Telegraph)


Royal Air Force News

Britain to send RAF Typhoon jets to Vladimir Putin’s doorstep as NATO vows to boost military might
(The Sun)

Devastating RAF air strike on ISIS underground lair kills dozens of jihadists as they try to flee
(Mirror)

Fighting ISIS: On the Ramp at Al Udeid Air Base
(Aviation Week)

Fresh appeal launched on 50th anniversary of RAF Halton servicewoman Rita Ellis’ brutal murder
(Bucks Free Press)

Girlfriend of missing RAF man Corrie McKeague girlfriend posts heartfelt Remembrance Day tribute
(Scottish Daily Record)

I don’t bear my Iraqi captors ill will, says Gulf War RAF hero
(Evening Standard)


Royal Navy & Marines News

Plymouth Royal Marine dies aboard Royal Navy ship
(BBC News)

Britain ‘to halve’ its minehunter presence in the Gulf
(The National)

Bomb squad storms one of Britain’s main Royal Navy bases
(Mirror)

Sex, Drugs And SSBNs
(Strategy Page)

Royal Navy EOD Divers Disable WWII “Pipe Bomb”
(The Maritime Executive)

UK Royal Navy to install NAVICS integrated communications systems
(Military Embedded Systems)

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.

News Round-Up – November 3rd 2017

HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier royal navy sunset

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


General Defence News

PM names Williamson as UK Defense Secretary after Fallon quits
(Bloomberg)

Former head of the British Army claims Sir Michael Fallon’s resignation is a ‘tragedy for defence’
(Telegraph)

Wheels are literally falling off the MoD thanks to lack of cash
(The Register)

Is the UK naval shipbuilding industry ready for a ‘renaissance’?
(Naval Technology)

Sinn Fein and DUP in Belfast City Hall clash over ‘glorifying of terrorism’
(Belfast Telegraph)

CAE to provide aircrew training services for British RAF and Royal Navy
(Airforce Technology)

UK’s new powerful stealth fighter will ‘quieten critics very quickly,’ warns test pilot
(Express)

UK MoD outlines new S&T strategy
(IHS Jane’s 360)


British Army News

SAS recruitment deaths: Two soldiers charged with negligence after three recruits died during Brecon Beacon exercise
(The Independent)

Tory MP blames ‘nationalist-leaning individuals’ for Army Troubles probes
(Belfast Newsletter)

Royal Welsh begin serving in Estonia as part of NATO battle group
(ERR News)

Malawi turns to British troops in poaching war
(Phys.Org)

Labour accuses government of ‘litany of broken promises’ over Army pay
(Forces Network)

Scottish independence scaring off people from joining regiments north of the border, says former armed forces minister
(Herald Scotland)

New report calls for probe into UK role in Operation Blue Star
(Economic Times)

Leaving the Army was like losing the love of my life
(Telegraph)


Royal Air Force News

Immigrant stowaways hitch ride on RAF coach and end up on Reaper drone base
(Telegraph)

RAF pay tribute to “special” airman at Brierfield mosque
(Burnley Express)

Meet the new Red Arrows pilots
(Forces Network)

See behind the scenes at RAF Cosford conservation centre where planes are restored 
(Shropshire Star)

Air force chief praises RAF for humanitarian efforts in Caribbean
(Oxford Mail)

Charity partner sought for RAF-themed Lincoln Fashion Week
(The Lincolnite)

RAF Phantom “Black Mike’ moves to RAF Cosford
(Warbirds News)


Royal Navy & Marines News

British Royal Navy’s future HMS Queen Elizabeth begins next set of sea trials
(Naval Technology)

MoD dismisses reports of cuts to Royal Marines
(Forces Network)

New Defence Secretary under pressure to reveal truth over ‘superbase’ plans for Plymouth
(Plymouth Herald)

The world’s biggest grave robbery: Asia’s disappearing WWII shipwrecks
(The Guardian)

Patrol ships will make Britain safer
(The News/Portsmouth)

Call for welfare review after sub drugs scandal
(Helensburgh Advertiser)

Second-hand parts help keep Britain’s Royal Navy warships in operation
(Xinhua)

Why brave Plymouth Royal Marine blown up in Afghanistan feels human again
(The Herald)


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.

Sopwith 2b2 Rhino

 

Few aircraft companies in Britain could claim to embrace the triplane arrangement as enthusiastically as Sopwith. While it would be building legendary biplane fighters such as the great Sopwith Camel that the company would be remembered for, it had enjoyed some moderate success with its aptly named Sopwith Triplane fighter which served with the Royal Naval Air Service’s “Black Flight”. Within three months of entering combat the flight had downed 87 German aircraft and the performance of the Triplane was such that it sparked off 1917’s triplane craze in Germany that ultimately led to the famed Fokker Dr.I.

Sopwith Triplane

The Sopwith Triplane didn’t catch on as well as hoped with British forces however and only 147 airframes were built, a comparatively small number for the time. Neither did it attract the hoped-for foreign interest although French, Greek and even Russian forces trialled the aircraft; in the latter case at least one example made its way in to the ranks of the embryonic Red Air Force post-revolution.

While Sopwith would primarily focus on biplanes, they continued to push for research in to triplanes to meet Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service requirements. In 1916, after the RFC issued a requirement for a long-range escort fighter and airship-destroyer, the company began work on another relatively large triplane in response. The resulting aircraft, the rather mechanically-named Sopwith Long Range Tractor Triplane (LRTTr), was a three-bay, narrow chord wing design that featured a streamlined nacelle in the middle of the top wing for a gunner to be positioned. The Sopwith LRTTr was an extremely clumsy aircraft in the sky and by the time of its first flight was already rendered obsolete by the introduction of more capable biplane designs featuring synchronised machine guns that negated the need for the upper wing nacelle.

Sopwith Long Range Tractor Triplane LRTTr

Only the prototype Sopwith LRTTr (right) was built but Sopwith were not dissuaded by this lack of success. On the contrary, they were still so enamoured with the triplane layout that they actually began drawing up a new triplane without there being an actual requirement having been issued by the RFC or RNAS. This time however the aircraft was to be wholly different beast being tailored for the bombing role rather than as a fighter. Experience gained on their previous efforts were put to good use in this new design and the aircraft featured only a single bay within its triplane wings which gave the aircraft a more advanced look to it.

It was intended for the aircraft to carry its offensive armament internally in an effort to streamline the design and so the fuselage was deepened to feature a small bomb bay under the pilot’s seat. It was intended that the aircraft would be armed with 450lbs of bombs that would be first fitted on to a self-contained pack which would then be loaded in to the aircraft. The pilot would be given a forward-firing .303 Vickers machine gun synchronised with the propeller while a defensive gunner had a .303 Lewis machine gun in the rear cockpit.

Sopwith approached the British authorities with their new proposal but were met with opposition since they were working on an aircraft that hadn’t been requested. Nevertheless, the design sufficiently impressed them to grant Sopwith a license to build two prototypes for testing as a private venture. There was in fact reason for Sopwith to be optimistic. After German Gotha bombers began attacking London, the British War Office recommended doubling the size of the RFC with the great majority of new squadrons being equipped with bombers. Airco’s DH.9 looked set to swallow up most of the orders but if Sopwith could prove their new aircraft superior then they might be able to tender it as a replacement in the following year.

Construction of the prototypes began in mid-1917 and the first Sopwith 2B2 Rhino was completed in October before being test flown from Brooklands. Driving the Rhino’s two-bladed propeller was a 230hp Beardmore Halford Pullinger in-line, water-cooled engine; an aeroengine that was widely available at the time and that had powered the prototype DH.9. The engine was mounted ahead and above of the weapon bay with the fuselage curving up toward it the look of which helped inspire the Rhino name. Unfortunately, this engine and its installation would lead to criticism from observers since it was proving unsatisfactory in the DH.9 with poor performance at altitude while its position on the Rhino made the aircraft very nose heavy making it something of a handful to land safely.

Sopwith 2b2 Rhino bomber

The first prototype (above) was nevertheless submitted for official testing in February 1918 which was undertaken at Martlesham Heath. It was joined by the second prototype the following month which was nearly identical except that the simple pillar mounting for the rear gunner was replaced by a more modern scarff ring. Unfortunately, the aircraft proved disappointing. Compared to the similarly powered DH.9, the Rhino was 10mph slower and had a significantly lower rate of climb both of which was of great concern to the RFC who were already unhappy with the speed of the early DH.9s they were receiving. Official figures showed that the Rhino had less endurance than the DH.9 and had a marginally smaller bombload.

Sopwith 2b2 Rhino bomber prototype martlesham heathSopwith knew any effort to develop the design would be fruitless since 1917’s triplane craze which it had largely helped create was now well and truly over. While it was true that triplanes had the advantage of being able to use shorter span wings than an equivalent biplane which made them smaller targets in the air than an equivalent DH.9, the trade-off however was that they were often heavier than their biplane counterparts and they incurred far more drag. They were also prone to cross wind interference which was especially dangerous on landing. As the air war dragged on over the trenches it became increasingly obvious that speed was going to be the deciding factor and the newer biplanes were leaving triplanes behind. Sopwith would continue to dabble in triplane designs up until the end with their last aircraft, the Sopwith Snark, being developed in both biplane and triplane forms.

The two Rhino prototypes would be returned to Sopwith where they would have a short career testing new propeller designs before they were disposed of to join the list of British aviation oddities of World War I.