Defence in the Media: 5 January 2016

Defence headlines today include coverage of a new contract for a Laser Directed Energy Weapon, and continued reporting on the RAF's role in the campaign against Daesh.

Laser contract

The Mirror reports on a £30 million deal to make a laser-directed energy weapon for the British Armed Forces which could shoot down enemy jets.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriet Baldwin said:

The UK has long enjoyed a reputation as a world leader in innovation and it is truly ground-breaking projects like the Laser Directed Energy Weapon which will keep this country ahead of the curve.

The Defence Innovation Initiative and £800M Defence Innovation Fund aim to encourage imagination, ingenuity and entrepreneurship, in pursuit of maintaining a military advantage in the future.

With a rising Defence budget, and a £178 billion equipment plan, our commitment to innovation will deliver a safer and more prosperous Britain.

More information can be seen here.


The Daily Mail says the RAF has had its deadliest year yet in the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, claiming that at least 1,011 ‘fanatics’ were killed. The article describes the UK’s operations over the Christmas period.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

Daesh is losing ground, losing support and losing fighters. The RAF are hitting Daesh hard, operating at the highest tempo for 25 years as part of Britain's leading role in the Coalition that is training and supporting Iraqi forces on the ground. This year we must maintain momentum and deal Daesh a decisive blow in Iraq.

The latest update on the RAF's air strikes against Daesh can be seen here.


An article is carried in the Daily Mail that reports countries with controversial human rights and corruption records have paid the government more than £30m since 2007 to train their troops at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

An MOD spokesperson said:

Sandhurst courses expose officers from other countries to UK policies and help promote British Military values, including concepts of accountability, transparency and respect for human rights. Much of our training is specifically designed to improve the approach of other countries to human rights and all is delivered in line with strict security guidelines.


There is continued coverage in The Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Sun on a petition calling for Dambuster airman, George Johnson of the Royal Air Force 617 Squadron, to be knighted. He is the last surviving member of the RAF crews which flew a night of raids on German dams in the Ruhr valley in May 1943.

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