#AceNewsReport – June.16: The continuing presence of British Army personnel in the NATO force, which for over two decades has helped maintain peace and stability in Kosovo, signals the UK’s ongoing commitment to the wider Western Balkans region’s security, stability and prosperity:
MOD GOVUK underlines commitment to Western Balkans with extension of troops in Kosovo: The UK has been a key contributor to the UN-mandated NATO force, known as KFOR, since it first entered Kosovo in 1999 as a peacekeeping force to bring peace and stability following the conflict of the 1990s.
NATO is the bedrock of UK security and it is because our Armed Forces step forward to protect peace alongside our partners that it remains so. The extension of our commitment to KFOR underlines our unwavering commitment to the Western Balkans region, where NATO has helped to bring stability for over two decades.
UK forces have since worked to enhance KFOR’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capability, significantly increasing the mission commanders’ situational awareness – ensuring the operation can provide a safe and secure environment for the entire population. KFOR acts as one of the main security providers in Kosovo, with troops contributed by some 30 nations including Italy, Turkey, Poland and the US, as well as the UK. The UK’s contribution includes a battalion-sized high readiness Strategic Reserved Force based in the UK, ready to deploy at short notice.
As set out in the recently-published Integrated Review into security, defence, development and foreign policy and Defence Command Paper, the UK remains committed to NATO which remains the bedrock of our security.
It comes after the Prime Minister announced in November an increase in Defence funding of over £24-billion across the next four years, enabling our Armed Forces to adapt to meet future threats.
#AceNewsReport – June.02: Azerbaijan Army Units using special technical means have detected and landed the “Griphon-12” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of the Armenian armed forces in the Kalbajar region of the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border”. – the statement reads:
No Calm In Nagorno-Karabakh: Azerbaijani Forces Intercepted Armenian UAV Over Kalbajar Region (Photos)
Griphon-12 is a multifunctional Russian-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed by Plaz firm.
The UAV is intended for the civilian use. It is aimed at conducting special reconnaissance work, observation and monitoring flights, as well as patrol operations. It is capable of supporting the flight for 3 hours, with a maximum flight speed of 120 km / h, and a maximum range of 90 kilometers.
The situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the region of Gegharkunik and Syunik regions has remained tense since May 12. Both sides report provocations on a regular basis.
Under the terms of the agreement that ended the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, most of the district came under Azerbaijani control. However, disputes over the border line continue. Military provocations are reported despite the deployment of Russian security forces.
#AceNewsReport – May.19: On Tuesday 11 May, Iraqi security forces encountered a group of Daesh terrorists in a strong defensive position some twenty five miles south west of Mosul:
GOVUK Update Report: ‘Air- strikes as the RAF are continuing to take the fight to #Daesh in Iraq and Syria: Tuesday 11 May – Typhoons struck terrorists engaged in a firefight with Iraqi forces in northern Iraq’
Coming under heavy small arms fire from the terrorists, the Iraqi troops requested air support from the global coalition, and a pair of Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4s responded promptly. Liaising closely with the Iraqis, our aircraft attacked the Daesh terrorists with two Paveway IV precision guided bombs. The bombs hit the target and eliminated a number of the Daesh extremists. The Iraqi forces were then able to assault the position successfully and overwhelm the few remaining terrorists.
On Sunday 4 April, an RAF Reaper, armed with Hellfire missiles, identified a small group of Daesh terrorists in northern Syria, some fifty miles west of Al Hasakah. Having checked that there were no civilians nearby, the Reaper’s crew attacked the terrorists, striking the target successfully.
#AceNewsReport – May.18: The operation, which was the first of its kind by UN forces in Mali, is a clear demonstration of how British peacekeepers have been making an impact in the UN’s mission to protect civilians during their first six months in the country.
LONDON: UK troops seize Daesh arms cache in Mali peacekeeping operation: ‘British peacekeepers seized AK47s, ammunition, fuel and radios hidden by a jihadist cell intimidating civilians, after conducting a search in a sandstorm’
The British force launched the Mission-approved “cordon and search” operation in early May in a village close to the border with Niger, after receiving intelligence about violent extremists operating in the area. The extremists had been intimidating local communities, extorting money and assaulting people who refused to comply with their demands, meaning UK forces were able to respond to protect them under the UN’s peacekeeping mandate.
Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said:
This was the first operation of its kind by UN forces in Mali, demonstrating how UK personnel have made a significant contribution to the mission during their first six months in the country.
Removing the weapons and disrupting the terrorist operation will make a real difference to the local community and importantly the intelligence collected will help develop our understanding and help to prevent the threat from armed groups in the future.
The UK Task Group provides the UN with a highly specialised long-range reconnaissance capability, conducting patrols in remote areas, gathering intelligence and engaging with the local population to help the UN understand and respond to threats and fulfil its mandate to protect civilians.
Acting on information they had gathered, around 100 soldiers from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment, supported by a specialist Royal Engineer search team, were cleared by UN HQ to move into the village and search several buildings of interest. The operation took place during incredibly challenging conditions, including a sandstorm that reduced visibility to 30m, over 50C heat and soldiers carrying up to 45kg of equipment.
Upon searching the area, they found a hidden cache of terrorist material, including AK47 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, along with camouflage clothing, radios, mobile phones and hundreds of litres of fuel. The weapons and intelligence collected were then passed to the UN Mine Action Service, UN Police, and Malian authorities, who will use the information gathered and then destroy the materials.
A cell of suspected fighters from Daesh-affiliated group Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS) fled by swimming across the River Niger before the peacekeepers arrived, leaving behind what they would consider valuable resources.
Lieutenant Colonel Tom Robinson, Commanding Officer of the Light Dragoons, said:
This operation is a tangible example of how UK soldiers, as part of the UN Force, are making a real difference to protect the people of Mali who are living in one of the most vulnerable regions in the world.
Using intelligence gathered during our patrols, we focussed on where terrorist groups were intimidating local people and were then able to find and seize the weapons and supplies, disrupting their harmful influence on local communities and gathering more information that will help interrupt further extremist activity.
The operation is the first targeted “cordon and search” operation, acting on intelligence proactively gathered, to be carried out by UN forces in Mali. It demonstrates how the UN mission to Mali (MINUSMA) is working to protect civilians, support Malian authorities to maintain security and protect UN personnel from threats posed by terrorists.
Swedish Colonel Markus Hook, Commanding Officer of the UN Mission’s Mobile Task Force, of which the UK troops are a part, said:
This Cordon and Search Operation was the first of its kind in a long period of time for MINUSMA.
It was based on information which suggested that a specific location within a village was being used for weapon storage by non-compliant armed groups which were harassing the local population.
The operation was a direct and timely response to intelligence, and it serves as a telling example of how we are proactively fulfilling our mandate to protect civilians.
The 300-strong UK Task Group deployed to Mali in December 2020 to support the UN mission, which is made up of over 13,000 peacekeepers from 56 different countries and works to support peace efforts, encourage security sector reform, protect civilians and promote human rights.
The Sahel is one of Africa’s poorest and most fragile regions. It is marked by chronic poverty, instability, high levels of gender inequality, and is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Terrorist violence and conflict have been sharply on the rise in recent years.
The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors to the Sahel. In 2020 the UK gave £14.65 million in humanitarian aid to Mali and is currently in the process of increasing the size of the UK embassy to reinforce our diplomatic strength in the country.
#AceNewsReport – May.08: Based in Telford, the contract will create 200 jobs at Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), including 130 engineers and 70 technicians, with a further 450 jobs to be established throughout the wider supply chain across the West Midlands, Glasgow, Newcastle upon Tyne and the Isle of Wight:
British Army to possess most lethal tank in Europe: The new tank will carry additional high velocity ammunition able to travel at faster speeds with an increased range. Ammunition will also be programmed digitally from a new turret with a 120 millimetre smoothbore gun. This cutting-edge tank will also feature an upgraded engine with a new cooling system and suspension to improve accuracy when firing in transit.
A new automatic target detection and tracking system will be used to identify threats, whilst new thermal long-range cameras will be fitted as part of a day/night image system.
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said:
This represents a huge shift in the modernisation of our land forces through the increased lethality of Challenger 3. This pioneering new technology allows us to deliver immense warfighting capabilities in battlespaces filled with a range of enemy threats.
The £800 million investment will also create hundreds of highly-skilled jobs across the country ensuring our soldiers benefit from the very best of British engineering.
Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Chris Tickell CBE said:
The announcement of the Integrated Review has provided us with a huge amount of opportunity and left the Army in a good place. The integration of Challenger 3 is key to ensure our success and integration in the land domain, ensuring that we meet our international commitments and continue to protect the nation.
As part of the Army’s commitments to adapt to meet future threats, Challenger 3 will be fully digitalised integrating information from all domains whilst being able to travel up to 60mph. The Challenger 3 tank is being developed to replace the current Challenger 2 tank which has been in service since 1998. Full Operating Capability for the tank is planned for 2030, with initial operating capability expected by 2027.
Director Land Equipment for DE&S, Major General Darren Crook said:
This is a significant step forward for Defence and UK industry as we continue to develop and modernise our fleet of land vehicles and I am looking forward to working closely with our industry partners to deliver the very best capabilities we can for the British Army.
As outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the British Army will be more deployable and better protected in the face of our adversaries. The announcement of Challenger 3 reaffirms our commitment to invest £3-billion into Army equipment over the next decade, delivering a modernised, adaptable and expeditionary fighting force.
#AceNewsReport – May.02: The joint convoy covered a distance of more than 100 km in the first operation of its kind by the forces of the two countries in Syria, and included 10 towns that are not under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Russian and Turkish forces carry out record long patrol in northeast Syria: ‘The commander of the Russian forces convoy, Brigadier General Andrei Titov, said: Today a new joint Russian-Turkish patrol was carried out from the Sharq crossing. The peculiarity of this patrol is the long distance of the route, as it included a large number of towns.” Video footage of alleged Russian strikes on HTS training camp
Titov added, “The patrol took place in an orderly manner, and the combination of troops and military equipment succeeded in carrying out the mission. The local residents in most of the towns welcomed the convoy.”
60 soldiers from the forces of both countries and more than ten of military vehicles participated in the patrol, accompanied by helicopters of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Turkey has extended its control over an area that extends about 30 kilometers south from the Turkish-Syrian border in northeastern Syria, since the launch of its military operation “Peace Spring” on October 9, 2019, against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which Ankara considers a terrorist and an arm of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
#AceWorldNews UK’s Ministry of Defence has hired a Kuwaiti firm blacklisted by the US government to sell off its leftover equipment in Afghanistan.
Agility Logistics landed an army contract to set up desert auctions for gear not valuable enough to take back.
Auctions are held in Camp Bastion in the south-eastern Helmand Province, and include Land Rovers, dumper trucks and more obscure items such as a portable laundry – but not weapons or live ammunition. By last October it emerged that some 85,000 items had already been sold.
The cost of the unsold equipment – bringing items back to the UK or renovating them, should they have not been sold – could have totalled as much as $3.3 billion, a cost deemed too high by the UK government.
The MoD issued the contracts to Agility in 2012 despite the fact that in 2009, the company was arraigned by a Grand Jury on suspicion of defrauding the US military. It was alleged that the sum to which they defrauded the government totalled some $60 million.
“As a result of this case, Agility and its subsidiaries have been placed on the US government’s Excluded Parties List.
That means they are temporarily suspended from pursuing and performing new US government contracts and task orders,” said a statement released by the company during the case.