Defence in the media: Sunday 12 February 2017

Defence news today includes coverage of the rescue of 14 civilian sailors by HMS Dragon, IHAT, UK submarines and a pilot scheme that looks to offer flexible working conditions to military personnel.

Royal Navy Rescue

The Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Express and The Independent all report that 14 sailors have been recused by the crew of a Royal Navy destroyer yesterday, after the Clyde Challenger yacht was battered in stormy conditions.

Captain Craig Wood, HMS Dragon’s Commanding Officer said:

HMS Dragon’s ability to quickly respond to this sort of tasking in support of a multinational rescue effort shows the flexibility the Royal Navy’s ships and highly-trained people can bring to bear.

I am delighted HMS Dragon was able to provide vital assistance on this occasion and am rightly proud of the efforts of my sailors in rising to this challenge. It is down to the capability of our ship and the skill of the men and women on board that we could accomplish this rescue in extremely difficult conditions.

Max Grosse, the Chief Bosun’s Mate on board HMS Dragon said:

When we arrived on scene it was clear the yacht had lost its mast and looked in a pretty desperate state after nearly 48 hours drifting in the challenging conditions. We were however hugely relieved to see all 14 crew alive and well. Despite racing through the night we only had three hours of daylight remaining in which to safely remove the crew. HMS Dragon is fitted with two large sea boats capable of carrying six passengers each.

We were able to use both boats to transfer the crew as quickly as possible. The prevailing weather conditions and notorious Atlantic swell made it enormously challenging though and really tested the skills of my experienced sea boat coxswains.

Iraq Historic Allegations Tribunal

There is continued coverage in the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Mirror on the closure of IHAT by the summer of 2017.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:

It was the MOD that supplied the main evidence that got Phil Shiner struck off for making false allegations against our Armed Forces. Exposing his dishonesty means many more claims he made can now be thrown out and the beginning of the end for IHAT. This will be a relief for our soldiers who have had allegations hanging over them for too long. Now we are taking action to stop such abuse of our legal system from happening again

Further comments on the closure of IHAT can be found here.

Flexible Working

The Mail on Sunday reports on a pilot study being conducted by the Ministry of Defence that looks to offer military personnel greater working flexibility, with the study set to help inform future policy.

An Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

Every members of Britain’s Armed Forces taking part in this pilot could be required to deploy on operations, at any time, should the need arise. This pilot is part of a modern offer to help Britain’s world class armed forces keep the broadest range of people and give them and their families the broadest service opportunities.


The Sunday Times carries an article about the UK's attack submarine programme

An Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

The Royal Navy's attack submarines meet their operational tasking and will continue to do so over the next decade.  It is not uncommon to have temporary small fluctuations in overall numbers during transition from one class to another.

Image of the Day

Fleet Ready Escort (FRE) tasking in the English Channel, where she is currently observing 2 Russian Sviyazhsk class corvettes, as the replenish at sea with one of their Goryn class tugs. The type 45 destroyer intercepted the RFN Zeleni Dol (602) and RFN Serpukhov (603) as they entered the Channel, having completing operations against Syria in the Mediterranean, Dragon has now been re-tasked on further operations. Pictured is HMS Dragon as she observes the Russian units RFN Zeleni Dol and Goryn Tug Images By L(PHOT) Dave Jenkins, Royal Navy
HMS Dragon has taken part in efforts to rescue 14 civilians from aboard the Clyde Challenger

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