Defence in the Media: 5 February 2017

A variety of Defence stories feature in the media today, including Defence equipment programmes, IHAT and the Army's White Helmets.


The Sunday Times has lead with its investigation into Britain’s defence procurement and some of the MOD's equipment programmes.

An MOD spokesperson said:

Britain’s defence budget is the biggest in Europe and it is growing every year, we are investing £178 billion as the UK steps up globally. We are focused on maintaining an affordable programme and getting the best value for the taxpayer to deliver the cutting-edge kit our Armed Forces need to keep Britain safe.

With regards to some specific claims made by the paper, it should be noted that:

  • The Type 45 Destroyer is a hugely capable Anti-Air Warfare ship and has been deployed successfully around the globe on a range of operations. With it's focus on air defence, stealth is not a premium requirement for the Type 45.
  • Ajax is expected to meet all of the Armed Forces movement requirements by aircraft. The vehicle is designed to be modular and parts can easily be removed. This is not unusual when it comes to armoured vehicles and does not cause any issues.
  • Watchkeeper first deployed on operations in Afghanistan in 2014, and the Army continues to put Watchkeeper pilots through training.

In other equipment related news, the Observer reports on the F-35 stealth fighter programme.

An MOD spokesperson said:

We remain committed to the F-35 programme and believe it offers the best capability for our Armed Forces.

Elsewhere, The Sun also reports on sea trials for HMS Queen Elizabeth

An MOD Spokesperson:

HMS Queen Elizabeth will be accepted into the Royal Navy this year. Only when she is ready will she begin sea trials this summer, which will mark an important moment in the future of the Royal Navy.


The Sunday Telegraph looks at the upcoming House of Commons Defence Select Committee report into IHAT.

A MOD spokesperson said:

The government is legally obliged to investigate criminal allegations and the courts are clear that if IHAT did not exist, British troops could be dragged through international courts. We’re committed to reducing IHAT’s caseload to a small number of credible cases as quickly as possible.

We are determined to stop spurious legal claims against our troops and tackle the likes of Phil Shiner, who have abused our legal system. The Defence Secretary insisted that the MOD submit evidence on Shiner's actions due to the distress he caused to soldiers. That led to Shiner being struck off. Now we are taking steps to ensure this abuse cannot happen in the future.

WHITE HELMETS                                                                                                                                      

The Sunday ExpressThe Sunthe Mail on Sunday and The Sunday Times report that the White Helmets will disband after more than 90 years.

An Army spokesperson said:

The Royal Corps of Signals have come far since using motorbikes to carry messages across the battlefield, and are now highly trained ‘Leaders in a Digital Age’ with expertise in cyber operations. This modernisation means that 2017 will be the last season for the iconic ‘White Helmets’ Royal Signals Motorcycle Display Team.


Soldiers take part in hugely realistic and challenging live firing package, fighting through vegetation as they put down a devastating, accurate fire in support of each other.
Soldiers take part in hugely realistic and challenging live firing package, fighting through vegetation as they put down a devastating, accurate fire in support of each other.
Household Cavalry soldiers have been developing and testing their reconnaissance skills in the demanding jungles of Brunei. They have been conducting long range reconnaissance and live firing in some of the most demanding terrain on the planet.
Household Cavalry soldiers are very familiar to the public in the State Ceremonial role, the Trusted Guardians of HM The Queen on their famous black horses; however, at any given time the large majority of Household Cavalry soldiers are at operational duty as reconnaissance soldiers. Having just completed a year of being at high readiness to deploy across the world mounted in their light armoured vehicles, they have taken the opportunity to hone their dismounted skills. Exercise ULU RAJAH offered five weeks of tough, realistic training in a close country tropical environment. Even the simplest tasks become challenging with visibility reduced to a few metres, intensely hot and humid conditions, clouds of biting insects, poisonous plants and animals, a canopy that blocks out the sun and extremely steep terrain.
Sgt Rupert Frere RLC / MoD Crown

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