Another rare winner of SDSR10 identified: the unique and strategically important 14 Signals Regiment (Electronic Warfare) is being expanded roughly by 8%, to an establishment of around 750 men, by 2013.
It joins Forward Air Attack Controllers and, more generally, Fire Support Teams' personnel in the very short list of winners of the SDSR process. These precious trades are being given funding, priority and expansion.
Operations have proven the need for them again and again, so i can only support the move.
More detail on "Operation Seedcorn": a total of 33 RAF personnel will be posted to the ASW and Maritime Patrol squadrons of allied airforces of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. The scope of the project is to keep alive the considerable MPA and ASW expertise of the grounded Nimrod community, in the hope of restoring a national MPA capability sometime in the future.
The current financial year (2011 - 2012) will see 3.3 million pounds allocated for the activity.
Read more on Flightglobal's article.
10 The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic regiment is to be "reconfigured" as part of Army restructuring: not yet clear what it exactly means, but 1 Gurkha Transport Squadron is training to deploy to Afghanistan as Light Infantry, while knowing that the squadron will cease to exist when they return. Must not be the most pleasant of feelings.
The Squadron will form three police advisory teams, which will focus on building a rapport with the Afghan National Police and persuading its commanders to lead patrols. The Gurkhas are advantaged by Urdu language competence.
The British Army website and sources are not really abundant with details on the composition of the 10 QOGLR, but the most recent composition i'm aware of includes:
- 1 Transport Sqn (Gurkha)
- 28 Sqn (Gurkha)
- 36 Sqn (Gurkha)
- 66 Fuel Squadron RLC
- LAD REME
In addition, 94 Gurkha Sqn is part of 10 QOGLR despite being assigned permanently to 9 Supply Regiment RLC.
Helicopter Training Contract extended to 2016: replacement of the Squirrel (34 active) and Griffin (11 active) training helicopters of the Defence Helicopter Flying School has been delayed to undetermined date. The helicopters will instead be upgraded and the contract under which Bristow Helicopters/Cobham Aviation Services joint venture provides the helicopters and training services at RAF Valley, RAF Shawbury and at Middle Wallop for the AAC, has been extended to 2016 at a cost of 193 million pounds.
No details on the proposed upgrade to the helicopters, but it is hoped that it will include glass cockpits to allow for a better training to the pilots, that are going to serve in glass cockpits in the upgraded and new Chinooks HC4 and HC6, in the Merlins, in the Wildcat and Apache.
Again, read more on FlightGlobal.
April 1st will see HMS Victory handed to the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
It is now confirmed. The ship will be looked after by the Royal Navy, by the National Museum of the RN and by the HMS Victory Preservation Trust, the latter aiming to attract charity donations and lottery grants.
The MOD is to pass Victory on along with 25 million pounds, to which former naval officer and car park entrepreneur Sir Donald Gosling will add a further £25m from his charitable Gosling Foundation. The 50 million pounds should ensure a safe future for HMS Victory for the next few years, while also covering the 16 million refit being done by BAE to the ancient vessel.
The ship will continue to stay commissioned formally into the RN, and the White Ensign will not be lowered. Instead, the vessel will become flagship to the First Sea Lord.
As of now, she is the Second Sea Lord's flagship, so it accounts as an advancement in rank.
Cynic and critic press speculation about HMS Victory becoming "a party ship" have been dismissed: dinner evenings and events are effectively held on the vessel quite frequently by many years, and this will not change, but the navy will retain strict control about which functions it allows on the warship.
Excellent coverage in the article of Portsmouth News.