Defence in the Media: 17 June 2017

Today’s defence related news includes further coverage of the two soldiers who died during a live-firing exercise at Castlemartin Ranges.

Castlemartin Ranges

Many of this morning’s papers report that the two soldiers from the Royal Tank Regiment who died during a live-firing exercise at Castlemartin Ranges have been named as Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson.

The Times, The Express, The Guardian and the Daily Record include a quote from the soldiers’ commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ridgway saying that “they were both exceptionally talented soldiers who loved what they did. The regiment has lost two real characters and that they will be sorely missed.”

Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ridgway’s full tribute can be read on the army website.

Sentinel Fleet

The Times reports that Britain’s Sentinel Fleet is due to be reduced in size.

 A Ministry of Defence spokesman said:

We are committed to increasing the £36bn defence budget every year over the next five years. Spending is monitored continually to ensure our rising defence budget focuses on frontline priorities and emerging threats. There is also a constant drive to maximise efficiencies with all savings reinvested in defence.

"This approach helps ensure our £178bn equipment plan delivers the cutting edge ships, aircraft, and armoured vehicles our military need now and in the future.

In relation to the suggestion that Sentinel will be scrapped before 2021:

 A Ministry of Defence spokesman said:

“SDSR 2015 confirmed the Sentinel out of service date as 2021, there has been no change to this position. We are currently assessing a range of potential options that could deliver wide area surveillance capability beyond Sentinel’s operational life, a decision will be taken in due course.”

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