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Old 12-31-2012, 02:33 AM   #131
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Defence chief signals major UK military presence in Gulf

• return to east of Suez
• significant move pushed by Cameron
• army brigades deployable to Africa, Asia,too

British troops and strike aircraft are to be based in the Gulf as part of the most significant new deployment of UK armed forces since Afghanistan.

The return to "east of Suez" was signalled by General Sir David Richards in the chief of defence staff's annual Christmas lecture at the Royal United Services Institute in London on Monday evening.

His speech was highly significant. It follows from what the Obama administration has been telling the Europeans — they have got to take more responsibility looking after the security interests not only of their own continent but those in the Middle East and Gulf.

And it reflects David Cameron's view that British interests — not least commercial ones, and arms sales in particular — lie among the emirates, sultanates, and kingdoms, of the Gulf.

These states are concerned about Iran, and will be for the forseeable future whatever that country's nuclear ambitions.

This is how Richards put it: "Though more conceptual work is needed, given the importance of the region and clear prime ministerial intent, I envisage two or more adaptable brigades forming close tactical level relationships with particular countries in the Gulf and Jordan, for example, allowing for better cooperation with their forces".

Richards added: "Should the need arise for another Libya-style operation, we will be prepared. This would greatly enhance our ability to support allies as they contain and deter threats and, with our naval presence in Bahrain, air elements in the UAE and Qatar, and traditional but potentially enhanced roles in Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, would make us a regional ally across the spectrum".

British defence chiefs are holding out the prospects of British barracks in Bahrain (already a Royal Navy as well as US navy base) quarters in Qatar, and Typhoon hangars on the air bases of the UAE (which are toying with the idea of buy some Typhoons for themselves).

The Gulf was not the only region Richards mentioned. In Africa, he said, British army brigades "would be tasked to support key allies in the east, west and south whilst another might be given an Indian Ocean and SE Asian focus, allowing for much greater involvement in the FPDA (Five Power Defence Arrangements between the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore) for example".

Against the background of America's "pivot" to the Pacific, this all sounds like another step towards the end of Nato, an alliance based on an area, the North Atlantic, which no longer has anything like the strategic significance it once did.

In his wide-ranging speech, Richards talked about deterrence, Britain's new Joint Expeditionary Force, cyber attacks, the dangers of divorcing soft and hard power, and How We Will Fight, which will be a kind of mission statement for Britain's armed forces.

He went through the inventory of kit available to the navy, army, and airforce.

He praised the potential of Britain's two new aircraft carriers — about which there is still much private scepticism in military circles — but made it clear, as he has done before, that the navy needs "more vessels tailored to discrete but important tasks, to be deployed on a range of routine non-warfighting duties".

This was a thinly-disguised reference to anti-piracy and other operations against "unconventional" or "non-state" enemies.

Noticeable by its absence of any mention was Britain's fleet of Trident ballistic missile submarines armed with nuclear weapons. It is Britain's most powerful weapon, a product of the cold war. It should also be Britain's most controversial weapon.

The Conservatives want to replace it with a "like for like" system. There is widespread but suppressed opposition among defence chiefs to its replacement. But they say it is an entirely "political" decision. Therefore they cannot even mention it in public.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/defence...e-gulf-defence
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:34 AM   #132
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And the expansion of neoconian hard power imperialism continues.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:11 PM   #133
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MOD Reveals £160 Billion Plan to Equip Armed Forces

The Ministry of Defence has today published details of how it will equip the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force over the next 10 years and how this will be funded.

For the first time, the government has set out a fully-funded Defence Equipment Plan totalling almost £160 billion.

The affordability of this plan has been scrutinised by the National Audit Office (NAO) and their independent analysis is also published today. The NAO makes clear that the MOD has:

-- substantially revised the way it compiles and manages the equipment plan and is now approaching the task on a more prudent basis;

-- taken difficult decisions to address what was estimated to be a £74 billion gap between its forecast funding and costs;

-- taken significant positive steps designed to deal with the accumulated affordability gap and lay the foundations for stability going forward.

And concludes that if it continues along this path:

-- the department will be able to demonstrate it has really turned a corner.

The publication of the equipment plan follows the Defence Secretary’s announcement last year that the Defence Budget has been balanced for the first time in more than a decade and that the MOD is taking a new approach to financial planning.

Within the equipment and equipment support budget of around £160 billion over the next ten years, Philip Hammond has introduced for the first time a contingency of £4.8 billion to manage cost variation and protect existing projects.

In addition, within the £160 billion, £8 billion is currently unallocated. This will be allocated as new equipment priorities emerge over the decade and only once the MOD is confident that they are affordable and therefore deliverable.

Priorities will be decided by the Armed Forces Committee, chaired by the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Structuring the Defence Equipment Plan and the budget that supports it in this way will enable the MOD to deliver Future Force 2020.

The equipment plan includes the following major investments in state-of-the-art military capabilities and their support over the next ten years:

--£35.8 billion on submarines and the deterrent, including a total of seven Astute Class attack submarines and developing a replacement for Vanguard Class ballistic missile submarines;

--£18.5 billion on combat air, including Lightning II and Typhoon fast jets and unmanned aerial vehicles;

--£17.4 billion on ships, including Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, six new Type 45 destroyers and the development of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship;

--£13.9 billion on aircraft for air-to-air refuelling, passenger and heavy lift, such as Voyager and A400M;

--£12.3 billion on armoured fighting vehicles, including Warrior, Scout and other land equipment;

--£12.1 billion on helicopters, including Chinook, Apache, Puma and Wildcat; and

--£11.4 billion on weapons, for example, missiles, torpedoes and precision guided bombs.

The Defence Equipment Plan gives the defence industry more information than ever before about the MOD’s priorities to enable them to invest in the capabilities the military will require.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“It is essential that our forces are fully equipped to respond to the range of threats we face in this uncertain world. This £160 billion equipment plan will ensure the UK’s Armed Forces remain among the most capable and best equipped in the world, providing the military with the confidence that the equipment they need is fully funded.

“For the first time in a generation the Armed Forces will have a sustainable equipment plan.

“Step by step, we are clearing up the culture of over-promising and under-delivering that created a multi-billion pound black hole in the Defence Budget. Today’s NAO report confirms that we were right to take the difficult decisions to cut unaffordable expenditure and balance the books.”

Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, said:

“Successful operations rely on a proper equipment programme based on sustained funding into the future. Through the Armed Forces Committee to the Defence Board, all 3 Services now have greater input and more certainty than ever before about what equipment they will have and when.

“The clarity provided by the equipment plan builds on the confidence in the budget and shows that Future Force 2020 is affordable and achievable. Our Armed Forces will have the capabilities to respond to global threats and provide the nation’s defence.”
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/art...ed-forces.html

Documents:

(20 PDF pages)

https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...-_20130130.pdf

(1 PDF page)

https://www.gov.uk/government/upload..._a20120130.pdf
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:47 AM   #134
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Africa is next.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:35 PM   #135
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Britain Unveils Photos of Nano UAVs in Use in Afghanistan

LONDON — Britain has revealed pictures of a tiny surveillance helicopter — it weighs just 16 grams — that has been in service with troops in Afghanistan since last year.

The Ministry of Defence said it believes the Norwegian-developed Black Hornet unmanned aerial vehicle is the first nano-sized surveillance system to be put into service anywhere in the world.

Equipped with a tiny steerable camera capable of giving troops full motion video and still images, the Black Hornet measures around 4 inches (10 cm) by 1 inch (2.5 cm). Data is transmitted to a handheld terminal not much bigger than a phone.

Norwegian developer Prox Dynamics supplied the UAV as part of a 20-million-pound deal for 160 units secured by local British company Marlborough Communications.

The battery-powered vehicle has endurance of about 30 minutes and a range of around a half mile.

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement that despite it light weight and size, the nano UAV was capable of working in harsh environments and windy conditions.

Deliveries have been completed on a deal that includes equipment, training and spares.

British soldiers are using the nano to peer around corners and over walls and other obstacles to view potential targets.

“We used it to look for insurgent firing points and to check out exposed areas of ground before crossing, which is a real asset. It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability,” said Sgt Chris Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan.
http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...xt%7CFRONTPAGE

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Old 02-09-2013, 12:57 PM   #136
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Flotation Equipment Slotted for U.K. Apaches

LONDON — British Army Apaches are to be equipped with flotation devices to increase the safety of crews operating the attack helicopter from Royal Navy warships.

The British deployed the Apaches in anger from a warship for the first time during the Libyan campaign that ousted Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Now the naval Apache is becoming a regular part of British amphibious capabilities with the machine flying from a helicopter carrier in two naval exercises last year.

Britain is the only nation to operate the Apache in a naval role, although several nations use other attack helicopter types for amphibious duties.

The British have been toying with operating the potent Apache from maritime platforms for years, undertaking suitability tests onboard the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean in 2004. And while the Apache is already partially ready for maritime operations as it has manually folded main rotor blades, it also has a problem: It was never designed for naval operations and without some sort of flotation device would sink like a stone if it ditched at sea.

The MoD has awarded AgustaWestland a deal to find a fix for the problem.

“AgustaWestland has been contracted to undertake a feasibility study to investigate the design for an emergency flotation system for the Apache. The study is expected to be completed this spring,” said a Defence Ministry spokeswoman.

GKN Aerospace subsidiary FPT Industries has been involved in designing a system aimed at keeping the Army Air Corps machine stabilized and afloat long enough to allow the two-person crew to escape.

The Italian-owned helicopter maker undertook final assembly in the U.K. of the Boeing-designed Apaches in the 1990s and continues as coordinating design authority in the U.K.

Industry and military sources said that with funds available, a contract could be sealed this summer.

Other modifications are also being considered to enable the helicopter to operate more safely. A new cockpit jettison system could also be in the cards.

The spokeswoman said the MoD and the Pentagon were “jointly funding a technology demonstrator project to investigate an alternative to the current Apache canopy severance device that will substantially reduce the blast effect experienced by the aircrew if operated.”

The helicopter is scheduled for a big capability sustainment update later in the decade, but the maritime safety improvements are too pressing to wait that long.

One analyst said most, but not all, of the 66 Apaches in the British Army fleet would be fitted for but not with the flotation device.
http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...xt%7CFRONTPAGE

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:59 AM   #137
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Navy sub's radiation leak scare

BRITAIN’S nuclear fleet suffered a dangerous setback last night after a submarine was docked for emergency repairs following a ‘radiation incident’.

HMS Tireless may face up to ten months in dry dock at Devonport naval base where, last night, engineers were “planning” repair works.

Her absence from operations has reduced Britain’s hunter-killer fleet to just five submarines instead of the recommended seven plus a spare needed to carry out vital duties, including protecting the UK’s Trident missile-carrying Vanguard submarines. Of those five HMS Astute, Britain’s brand new £1.2bn attack sub, is still not fully operational, and at least one other is undergoing maintenance.

The dramatic incident happened as the, 4,800 tonne Trafalgar class submarine was taking part in a training exercise for new officers off the west coast of Scotland ten days ago.

Navy chiefs ordered it to limp back to the Royal Naval submarine base at Faslane on the Clyde, where engineers inspected the ageing 30-year old reactor system.

It comes just weeks after the ballistic nuclear-powered submarine HMS Vigilant was stranded in the United States after its rudder broke during a deployment after a £350 million mid-life refit.

Launched in 1984, HMS Tireless was due to decommissioned from the fleet this year, but her service was extended for another four years due to the delay in the roll out of the new Astute class submarines.

The boat made naval history in 2011 when she returned to Plymouth after a ten-and-a-half-month deployment east of Suez, the longest for a Royal Naval submarine.

However it is the second time that “HMS Tired”, as she has been dubbed, has been forced to spend almost a year out of action due to reactor problems.

In May 2000 she was stranded at Gibraltar, where she stayed for 12 months, after being forced to make an “emergency call’ at the port following a radiation leak during a patrol in the Mediterranean.

It was later revealed that the submarine’s pressurised water reactor had suffered a crack in its coolant system, which could in a worst-case scenario result in the uranium rods being exposed.

Both Gibraltar and Spain lodged protests to the British government about the dangers posed, and Royal Navy maintenance workers forced to run a daily gauntlet through protestors as they battled to repair her. Repairs were thought to cost in the region of £200 million.

Earlier in 1993 the submarine suffered a minor fire aboard, then in 2007 a fire broke out when the submarine patrolled was under the Arctic ice cap, killing two sailors Paul McCann and Anthony Huntrod.

Speaking last night former First Sea Lord Admiral Lord West said: “Clearly it is important to be cautious when dealing with nuclear submarines.

“However, it is a fact that T-class submarines are old, with operating systems designed more than 30 years ago. Because of problems in ordering the new Astute class submarines, they are replacing T-Class boats later than one would have hoped.

“We just can’t afford problems like this. We need to have eight SSNs in our locker to be able to carry out the tasks required, of which one is always undergoing deep maintenance.

“Now it looks a though we are dropping to as low as five.

“The problems with running with such tight numbers is that if there’s suddenly a problem like this, it effects operational capability.”

Andy Smith of the UK National Defence Association, said: “The problems with HMS Tireless illustrate the folly of trying to have 'defence on the cheap' and failing to upgrade or replace equipment due to political short-sightedness and a defence policy dictated by the treasury rather than the military.”

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “HMS Tireless returned to Devonport Naval Base last week for repair following a small coolant leak that was contained within the sealed reactor compartment. There is no risk to the public, the environment or the crew.”
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/378...ion-leak-scare
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:00 AM   #138
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I wasn't in the country but I remember the Gibraltar incident was quite a big deal.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:43 AM   #139
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HMS Tired.

They need scrapping.
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:01 PM   #140
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British Troops To Leave Germany by 2019

LONDON — British troops will leave Germany by 2019 — a year earlier than planned — ending one of the enduring legacies of World War II, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said Monday.

Unveiling a 1.8 billion-pound ($2.7 billion, 2.1 billion euros) plan, Hammond said around 4,000 troops had already returned and another 11,000 would move back by 2016. The remaining 4,500 will be back in Britain by 2019.

The government had previously said that all British troops in Germany and their families would be home by 2020.

The speeded-up return of the troops will lead to a shake-up of army bases to accommodate them when they return. Four will close, and parts of three others will shut to allow resources to be concentrated on bases where the returning forces will be stationed.

They will be based at seven sites, including Salisbury Plain in southwest England, Edinburgh and Leuchars in Scotland, Catterick in northern England and Colchester in southeast England.

There has been a British army presence in Germany for 70 years, but the end of the Cold War necessitated a change in thinking.

Hammond told parliament: “The return of the British Army from Germany marks the end of an era, and I want to put on record the huge debt of gratitude we owe to the German government and the German people for the support, both moral and material, they have shown our Armed Forces over more than six decades.”

The plan will see around 1 billion pounds of the funding go toward 1,900 new houses for service families and accommodation for 7,800 single soldiers. Another 800 million pounds will be spent on infrastructure and refurbishment of bases.
http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...xt%7CFRONTPAGE
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