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17 janvier 2015 6 17 /01 /janvier /2015 08:35
Camp Bastion Memorial Wall



Source Photographer Cpl Daniel Wiepen – UK MoD


Camp Bastion Memorial Wall, the central point where service personnel who have lost their lives in Afghanistan are named and remembered, is lit by the evening light. The vigil site was used for parades of remembrance of both historical events and when a life was lost during Operation Herrick.


The memorial which bears the names of all of the UK personnel who have died in Afghanistan, is being transported to the National Memorial Arboretum, near Lichfield, Stafford.

Camp Bastion Memorial Wall
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9 octobre 2014 4 09 /10 /octobre /2014 17:35
Closing ceremony of Camp Bastion Memorial Wall


9 oct. 2014 Defence HQ


British sailors, soldiers and airmen have conducted a poignant vigil to mark the return of Camp Bastion’s memorial wall to the UK.

The memorial bore the names of all 453 UK personnel who have died on operations in Afghanistan and has been the focus for commemoration and reflection since it was erected.

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17 mars 2014 1 17 /03 /mars /2014 17:35
photos UK MoD

photos UK MoD

Soldiers of 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment were the last UK forces to be based at MOB Lashkar Gah


16 March 2014 Ministry of Defence


UK forces have now closed or handed over to Afghan forces all but 2 of their bases in Helmand province.


In a complex and well-planned operation spanning more than a month, Main Operating Base (MOB) Lashkar Gah and Patrol Base (PB) Lashkar Gah Durai have been handed over to Afghan control. A third base, MOB Price, has also been closed.

From a peak of 137 UK bases, just Camp Bastion, which remains the main base for UK personnel, and Observation Post Sterga 2 are now under UK control. The majority of the former UK bases are now in the hands of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Afghan forces are now leading 97% of all security operations across the country and are carrying out over 90% of their own training.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

The handover and closure of our bases across Helmand underlines the progress UK forces have made to increase security and stability across the province but also to build up the capability of the Afghan forces who will carry that work forward.

Those service personnel who have served in Lashkar Gah and Lashkar Gah Durai and at MOB Price as part of successive UK brigades have made a huge contribution to the campaign which has safeguarded our national security at home.

UK combat operations will cease by the end of this year but our support for the Afghan people will continue. Meanwhile, our troops will continue the mammoth task of getting our people and equipment home by Christmas.

MOB Lashkar Gah being handed over to the Afghan National Security Forces
MOB Lashkar Gah being handed over to the Afghan National Security Forces

MOB Lashkar Gah was handed over to the Afghans on 24 February 2014 during a ceremony attended by civilian and military leaders from the district centre. It opened in 2006 and served as the headquarters of UK military forces in Afghanistan until August 2013 when Task Force Helmand moved to Camp Bastion.

PB Lashkar Gah Durai, handed over to the Afghans on 8 March 2014, commands an important junction in Helmand. MOB Price, which has been closed, was formerly home to Danish armed forces and was the UK’s largest forward location for most of Operation Herrick.

Each base provided a strategic location in Helmand for International Security Assistance Force personnel supporting the ANSF.

Brigadier James Woodham, Commander Task Force Helmand, said:

The handover of 3 of the largest British bases in Helmand represents a historic moment in the UK’s military campaign in Afghanistan. This was a complex and significant operation requiring detailed planning and much hard work during its execution.

That we are no longer required to operate from these bases is a sign of the progress made by Afghan forces delivering security for their own people.

While the Afghans are firmly in the lead, UK personnel will continue to serve in Helmand throughout this year supporting the Afghan security forces where necessary.

Vehicles from 2 Logistic Support Regiment take equipment back to Camp Bastion
Vehicles from 2 Logistic Support Regiment take equipment back to Camp Bastion [All pictures: Corporal Ross Fernie, Crown copyright]

The gradual operation to remove infrastructure from each base and make the move back to Camp Bastion took around 6 months, with dozens of journeys via road and air, including combat logistic patrols. In the final stages of the operation there were 10 such patrols, involving nearly 600 vehicles.

This month’s handovers come as the ANSF prepare for their second summer in the lead for security operations in Helmand.

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4 décembre 2013 3 04 /12 /décembre /2013 18:35
Handover of UK headquarters team in Afghanistan

Joint Force Support flag-changing ceremony at Camp Bastion, southern Afghanistan [Picture: Sergeant Dan Bardsley, Crown copyright]


2 December 2013 Ministry of Defence


A new headquarters team has arrived at Joint Force Support (Afghanistan) in Camp Bastion, Helmand province.


In a short transfer of authority ceremony, in front of sailors, soldiers, airmen and civilians, outgoing Commander Joint Force Support (Afghanistan), Air Commodore John Bessell, handed over to Brigadier Martin Moore. The handover marks the start of another crucial chapter in the UK’s military drawdown in Afghanistan.

Brigadier Moore is taking command of the seventeenth rotation of Joint Force Support, which works in parallel with Task Force Helmand to provide logistical and technical support for UK Armed Forces across Afghanistan.

The span of responsibility of the headquarters is vast, ranging from personnel policy and logistics to infrastructure, training and commercial support.

As well as providing specialist expertise, Joint Force Support commands a range of force elements comprising thousands of military personnel, UK civil servants and military-supported contractors.

One of the key tasks of the staff has been the co-ordination of redeployment, which involves recovering aircraft, vehicles, weapons and surveillance equipment back to the UK in good order.

Speaking after the weekend handover, Air Commodore Bessell reflected on the successes of his 6-month tenure. A mark of the progress is that a third of the materiel has been returned home safely.

More than 1,300 vehicles and items of major equipment and the equivalent of 1,800 shipping containers of materiel have been redeployed from Afghanistan.

Air Commodore John Bessell with Brigadier Martin Moore
Air Commodore John Bessell (left) hands over the command of Joint Force Support to Brigadier Martin Moore at Camp Bastion [Picture: Sergeant Dan Bardsley, Crown copyright]

Air Commodore Bessell said:

Redeployment is a challenging problem, but resourceful people have made redeployment a reality.

In our time we have made a significant inroad into redeploying the future of the British military’s protected mobility fleet.

At the same time we have redeployed the Merlin helicopter and seen the C-17 aircraft come of age in delivering the fly and sail of equipment to the UK.

Brigadier Moore said:

This marks the change of the core of the headquarters, but it doesn’t change the direction of travel for Joint Force Support (Afghanistan).

The next 6 months will be crucial in positioning Operation Herrick for the conclusion of the campaign. The main focus will be sustaining current and future operations in order to see transition through into 2014.

In the margins, we will strive to build on the outstanding work of our predecessors to energise the redeployment effort so that the UK, working side-by-side with Regional Command (South West), can recover from Helmand on time and in good order.

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30 septembre 2013 1 30 /09 /septembre /2013 11:50
Britain to host Nato summit

27 Sep 2013 By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent


Britain will host next year’s Nato summit as the military alliance draws up plans for Afghanistan after combat troops pull out, David Cameron has announced.


The summit will be the first time the biennial gathering of alliance leaders has been held in the UK since 1990.


Downing Street said that the dates and venues would be announced later, but Mr Cameron confirmed the agenda would be dominated by the lengthy Afghan campaign.


He said: "It will be an opportunity for leaders to recognise the contribution and the sacrifice made by our service men and women as the [international] mission in Afghanistan draws to a close, and as Nato draws down its forces and looks to help Afghanistan in different ways.”


The Nato-led international coalition is quickly withdrawing the more than 80,000 troops it still has in the country. Nato has said all combat troops will leave by the end of 2014 and fully handover security duties to Afghan forces.


American and British commanders believe Afghan forces will not be ready in time to stand on their own against the Taliban though, and want to keep a force of military trainers and special forces troops in the country.


Last week The Telegraph disclosed that the Army was pushing a plan to keep up to 200 advisers in Camp Bastion in Helmand province to help the Afghan army.


Gen Sir David Richards, former head of the Armed Forces, said having the summit was “excellent news” for the UK.


He said: “It confirms the leading role the country continues to play in Nato and on the world stage. In terms of combat effectiveness UK armed forces are the second most powerful in Nato. Given other nations’ defence cuts this will still be the case well into the 2020s.


“I am delighted that the UK will play a leading role in devising alliance strategy in the post Afghanistan era. In what is a very troubled world, working closely with allies and friends will be as important as at any time in our history".

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 11:35
Army proposes keeping 200 troops in Helmand after 2014

22 Sep 2013 By Ben Farmer, Defence Correspondent


Military leaders are pushing a plan to keep up to 200 British troops in Helmand after the pullout of Nato combat forces from Afghanistan next year, The Telegraph has learnt.


The proposal is the first official acknowledgment that Britain could keep forces in the province where nearly 450 troops have died in seven years of fighting.


Senior commanders are concerned the fledgling Afghan army will not be ready to face the Taliban on its own by the end of next year and a total pullout from Helmand risks squandering years of hard work.


They also worry a reluctance to draw up plans for Helmand after 2014 is undermining Afghan forces’ morale and weakening British influence in Kabul.


The proposal would see up to 200 British troops stay at Camp Bastion to work as advisers at the headquarters of the province’s Afghan army corps, senior military sources said.


Read more

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23 avril 2012 1 23 /04 /avril /2012 07:45
U.K. Firm’s War-Zone Selling Point


Apr. 22, 2012 By ANDREW CHUTER Defense News


In Search of Buyer, DSG Promos Afghanistan Performance


LONDON — Faced with an 11,000-kilometer round trip to get service, repairs or upgrades for armored vehicles battered by the Taliban and the environment in Afghanistan, Britain’s Ministry of Defence instead opted to build a facility at its sprawling Camp Bastion in Helmand province to carry out the work.


The task of operating the factory in the desert went to the Defence Support Group (DSG), the up-for-sale, state-owned company that is already responsible for depth servicing and other work at its facilities in the U.K.


Now in its second full year of operation, the facility, known as the Equipment Sustainability System (ESS) Regeneration Capability, is proving its worth — saving the MoD money, relieving pressure on the air bridge between Afghanistan and the U.K. and getting vehicles back into the fray much faster.


Dave Burgess, the DSG general manager at the Camp Bastion facility, said the MoD has saved 22.9 million pounds ($36.5 million) in the first full year of operation — nearly 8 million more than predicted.


This year’s savings are shaping up to be even better, Burgess hinted.


Importantly for DSG, the facility is not just saving the MoD money and improving vehicle turnaround times. ESS is also boosting the company’s bottom line as it faces the challenge of replacing the profits from its recently closed military aircraft maintenance business at St. Athan, Wales.


The Bastion facility is reckoned to be the first British base workshop deployed in an operational theater since the Korean War.


“Conceptually, ESS was a good idea, and we can now see it working in practice,” Burgess said.


ESS mainly handles longer-term preplanned work on land platforms, he said, while the British Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers do the rapid-turnaround maintenance needed on the front line.


“In soldier terms, [the vehicles] get trashed,” Burgess said. “We give them an in-depth inspection, carry out the repairs, do a full service and any modifications and urgent operational upgrades required at the same time.”


Aside from armored vehicles like the Jackal, Husky and Warrior, ESS also services a range of land gear, including generators and electronic and optical equipment.


In the first year, 567 big pieces of equipment, from generators to armored vehicles and heavy equipment transporters, were serviced, repaired and updated by the 120 DSG and support employees at ESS.


British plans for the facility once combat troops are withdrawn at the end of 2014 are unclear. DSG has a minimum three-year contract for ESS, and while the drawdown will likely mean its eventual demise, the withdrawal of troops and equipment could bring opportunities of its own.


The MoD has been considering its options on what theater exit standard it wants for vehicles it brings home and whether that work is done back in the U.K. or at ESS, Burgess said.


The outcome of those deliberations will have a short-term impact on DSG’s efforts to remain viable amid the fallout from the government’s economic austerity measures, which has included serious cuts to spending and capabilities in sectors where the company operates.


While DSG has brought significant benefits to maintenance and repair activities in the U.K. since it was founded in 2008, reduced MoD spending could leave it exposed, said Howard Wheeldon of Wheeldon Strategic Advisory.


“The coalition government policy on deficit reduction and eventual privatization of DSG is an inevitable consequence of changes demanded by SDSR [Britain’s Strategic Defence and Security Review],” he said. “However, while the necessity to further reduce costs is an obvious consequence, we caution that with equipment capability reduction across all three U.K. armed forces, a privatized DSG with 12 bases and 3,000 employees could find itself deemed too large for future anticipated levels of maintenance and repair activity.”


The government’s 2010 SDSR resulted in large cuts in the numbers of some operational vehicles, like the Challenger II main battle tank.


DSG has other problems on the vehicles front. With withdrawal looming, the government’s heavy spending on urgent operational requirements in Afghanistan is starting to end. DSG has been a big beneficiary, with its facilities kept humming by extensive Army-required upgrades to platforms such as the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle and CVR(T) scout machine to increase protection against roadside bombs and fix other problems.


None of that’s good news for a company that the Conservative-led coalition decided would be sold off as part of its 2010 strategic defense review. Industry executives here said the delay between the decision to sell and the sale itself is to allow DSG to complete its transformation and secure the large long-term contracts that would lure would-be buyers.


Two major deals are in the works, but neither has been signed. Lockheed Martin UK has said it is committed to using DSG as the integrator on a $1 billion update of the Warrior, which includes fitting a new turret and cannon.


General Dynamics UK has a memorandum of understanding with DSG to build scout vehicles and other variants in the British Army’s specialist vehicles program. GD is working on the demonstration phase, and an MoD decision on a production deal is likely some way off.


An MoD spokeswoman said the ministry is “still looking to sell the Defence Support Group in line with the SDSR announcement. You can expect further developments later this year.”


Defense ministers have previously talked about completing the sale in 2013-14.


It’s unclear if all of DSG is up for sale. Aside from land systems repair and upgrade, DSG has an electronics and components unit that tests, repairs and calibrates avionics and other equipment.


Last year, it also took over the part of the MoD that undertakes vehicle storage — a small but important element in DSG’s strategic plan to offer customers a cradle-to-grave vehicle capability.


The company will soon report its annual figures for the year that ended in March, and defense analysts here said they are hopeful of an improvement over the previous year’s performance despite what is likely to have been a declining workload in the land and air sectors.


Unfortunately, 2011 is the last year in which DSG can rely on its Large Aircraft unit to underpin performance. The unit closed last month with completion of the last depth-maintenance program on the Royal Air Force’s VC-10 fleet ahead of the tanker/transporter’s retirement.


In 2010, the air and electronics businesses together (DSG doesn’t split them) reported 7.2 million pounds operating profit against total returns of 7.5 million pounds.


About Defence Support Group


Owner: U.K. government. Formed in 2008 from the Defence Aviation Repair Agency and the Army Base Repair Organisation.

Headquarters: Andover, England.

2010 sales: 209 million pounds.

Operating profit: 7.5 million pounds.

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