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Year 2002 No. 13, January 21, 2002 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

More British Troops on Way to Afghanistan

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

More British Troops on Way to Afghanistan

For Your Reference:
International Security Assistance Force
British Armed Forces outside the UK

West Midlands News In Brief
Goodyear confirms sacking workers in Wolverhampton
Car suppliers to Rover once more face bankruptcy

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More British Troops on Way to Afghanistan

Sixty-seven members of the Colchester-based Second Battalion The Parachute Regiment, including 45 Gurkhas, are on their way to Afghanistan. They leave RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on board a VC10 aircraft bound for Oman and then on to Kabul to join the multi-national security force. They are being joined by another 20 men from the Maidstone-based 36 Engineer Regiment and the Bicester-based 23 Pioneer Regiment.

The soldiers are due to join the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is being led by British troops. The British contribution is named Operation Fingal. The Ministry of Defence in London hosted the first meeting of the Contributors' Committee on 3 January. The Committee, comprising representatives of those countries participating in the International Security Assistance Force, has met regularly since.

Their expected three-month tour of duty will involve working with the interim authority in Kabul and on the security of key installations and the airport in the city.

A further seven flights containing members of 2 Para, part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade, are expected to leave throughout the week from the same RAF base.

Major Dan O'Donnell, the commanding officer of C Gurkha Company, says his men are "raring to go" and keen to get on to the streets of Kabul.

The battalion only returned from Macedonia in October following a 30-day mission to collect weapons from the National Liberation Army.

Several hundred British troops are in Kabul already as part of Britain’s contribution to the ISAF. The British deployment could eventually reach as many as 1,800 men.

Click here [http://www.operations.mod.uk/isafmta.doc] for the Military Technical Agreement between the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Interim Administration of Afghanistan – the framework document for the deployment of the ISAF – signed on January 4, 2002.

Article Index

For Your Reference:

International Security Assistance Force

The force will comprise around 5,000 personnel:

Force Headquarters

Multinational, centred around HQ 3(UK) Division

Brigade Headquarters

Multinational, centred around HQ 16 Air Assault Brigade (UK)

Two infantry battlegroups

2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (UK)

German-led battalion, including Dutch, Austrian and Danish troops

Other infantry units

France, Italy, Turkey

Reconnaissance squadron


Engineer group

UK, Greece, Italy, Spain

Explosive Ordnance Disposal

Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Spain,


UK, Germany, Portugal


UK, Bulgaria, France, New Zealand, Norway, Spain

Helicopter support

Germany, Spain

Military Police

UK, Germany, Romania

Other specialist troops

Finland, Italy, Sweden

Air transport support

UK, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Portugal

Up to 1,800 UK personnel will serve with ISAF. In addition, some 300 RAF and Army personnel are being deployed for the initial phase to help repair and operate Kabul International Airport. Units involved include elements from:

3(UK) Division Headquarters and Signal Regiment


16 Air Assault Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron


2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, including a Gurkha company


33 (EOD) Engineer Regiment


36 Engineer Regiment (including Queen's Gurkha Engineers)


13 Air Assault Support Regiment


16 Close Support Medical Regiment


30 Signal Regiment


9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers


23 Pioneer Regiment RLC


8 Fuel Support Company


156 Provost Company


Royal Air Force airfield personnel

Includes personnel from Tactical Communications Wing, 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron, RAF Regiment, and Movements specialists

Article Index

For Your Reference:

British Armed Forces outside the UK

The Royal Navy

The Royal Navy has 129 ships and submarines, 182 aircraft and 3 Royal Marine Commandos (40, 42 and 45 Commandos). There are around 36,500 people in the Royal Navy (9.2% female), and 6,500 in the Royal Marines. 18,500 civilian personnel work in direct support.

Royal Navy ships operate around the world. In recent operations the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have been ready to assist in the evacuation of British citizens from Sierra Leone, Albania, and Indonesia, and have contributed to the peacekeeping force in East Timor.

Invincible class aircraft carriers can deploy world-wide and operate aircraft without needing airfields. They provide a platform to direct large-scale maritime and coastal operations, whether national, coalition or NATO, and carry Royal Navy and RAF Harrier aircraft, airborne early warning and anti-submarine helicopters.

Able to remain submerged for months at a time, conventionally armed nuclear powered attack submarines can cover a vast distance unseen and unheard. As well as their anti-ship and anti-submarine roles they can support land operations with Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) which are capable of reaching targets up to 1,000 miles away.

The Royal Marines Commandos can be launched from ships of the Royal Navy or Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) anywhere around the world, to project power from the sea.

Frigates and Destroyers are used during conflict to prevent air, surface and submarine attacks on other vessels.

Vanguard class submarines with their Trident missiles carry Britain’s nuclear weapons. They are assigned to NATO.

The Royal Navy has a range of other ships, including Mine Countermeasures Vessels, Oceanographic Survey Vessels, Fishery Protection and Patrol Vessels, and forward repair, fuel, stores and ammunition ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The Army

The Army is currently deployed in over 80 countries around the world. Deployments vary in strength from single military advisors to full operational deployments. Among them are the following:


Following the withdrawal of the main British Forces from Belize in 1994, a small resident administrative detachment called BATSUB (British Army Training and Support Unit Belize) remains in Belize to co-ordinate the six annual exercises which take place from Britain. The exercises are based around an Infantry company with supporting weapons. A flight of the Army Air Corps is based in Belize and provides helicopter support to the exercising units.


The British Army first entered the former Republic of Yugoslavia as part of a United Nations force during the Bosnian conflict. This force was known as the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). In 1995 the intermediary multi-national force called the Implementation Force (IFOR) was created to implement the Dayton peace agreement. In December 1996 this force was restructured. The British contribution became part of the newly formed Stabilisation Force (SFOR) which remains the name of the force serving in Bosnia Herzegovina today.

The British Army as one of the many troop-contributing nations provides nearly 3,000 soldiers as part of a total force size of 23,000. The majority of British soldiers serve within an organisation called the Multi-National Division (south-west). The soldiers make up the majority of the headquarters and administrative staff.

Prior to April 2000, Britain was the "lead nation" in the Multi-National Division (south-west) and deployed various Brigade headquarters' units to co-ordinate the command and control of within their area of responsibility. However, recently Dutch, Canadian and Czech service personnel have taken over many of the appointments that had previously been filled by British soldiers.

In addition to headquarter staff the British Army provides a capability on the ground. The lead infantry unit in Bosnia at present is 1st Battalion, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment. B Squadron, The Light Dragoons and C Squadron, 2 Royal Tank Regiment reinforce them. Further soldiers from the Royal Logistic Corps, the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers provide support.

Currently British soldiers are heavily involved in support of rebuilding projects. The Department for International Development (DFID) provides the money for the projects that must be multi-ethnic and encourage refugees to return to their pre-war homes.


The British Army in Brunei comprises an Infantry Battalion and a Bell 212 Helicopter Flight of the Army Air Corps. The Training Team Brunei run jungle warfare courses for all members of the British Army.

The Battalion is supported by the small British Garrison, which provides all logistic and administrative support. The Training Team Brunei is the Army's jungle warfare school. It runs a number of courses, ranging from Jungle Warfare instructor Courses to long range patrolling and tracking.


Alberta has provides for two types of large-scale training for the British Army. The British Army Training Unit Suffield or BATUS is an organisation situated on one of the most sparsely populated areas of the Alberta plain. BATUS is equipped with a full complement of Challenger tanks and Warrior Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC). Each year a Regiment is sent there for six months to take the part of the "enemy" for the other six Regiments that are there to train each year.

This area is one of the largest the Army trains on. The six-week exercises allow a full infantry battalion, with support weapons and its attached Royal Artillery Battery to conduct live firing training at all levels. From section tactics to battalion assaults, the training area allows armoured Battle Groups to conduct a wide variety of training, much of which is live firing.


In 1960, a treaty of establishment allowed Cyprus to become an independent Republic, free from British control. Within the agreement, two Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) at Akrotiri and Dhekelia were identified as property that would remain as British sovereign territory and therefore remain under British jurisdiction.

The British Army in Cyprus work to a tri-service headquarters and are tasked with protecting the SBAs and associated retained sites. The Army presence includes two resident infantry Battalions: the Joint Service Signals Unit at Ayios Nikolaos, 62 Cyprus Support Squadron Royal Engineers and 16 Flight Army Air Corps (equipped with Gazelle helicopters) at Dhekelia. There are also a variety of supporting arms such as the Royal Logistics Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Military Police and others located in both SBAs.

The administration of the Bases is driven by three main policy objectives: effective use of the SBAs as military bases, full co-operation with the Republic of Cyprus, and protection of the interests of those resident or working in the SBAs.

The Bases, which cover 98 square miles, enable Britain to maintain a permanent military presence at a strategic point in the Eastern Mediterranean. RAF Akrotiri is an important staging post for military aircraft and the communication facilities are an important element of Britain’s world-wide links.

It is also possible to find up to a regiment's worth of British soldiers serving with the United Nations Forces in Cyprus. However, there is no operational link between British soldiers serving in the SBAs and the British contingent of the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). These soldiers serve on an unaccompanied six month tour of duty as United Nations soldiers and are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the Buffer Zone that runs between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

The British contribution takes command of sector 2, which covers the capital Nicosia.


The former Portuguese colony of East Timor was invaded and annexed by Indonesia in 1975. Following the fall of Indonesian President Suharto in 1998, his successor President B.J. Habibie announced that the East Timorese would be granted a referendum to decide between autonomy within Indonesia or outright independence. On 30 August 1999, the United Nations-organised referendum recorded a 78.5% vote in favour of independence.

On 13 September President Habibie announced that Indonesia would accept the presence of United Nations peacekeepers to help restore order to the territory. A UN-mandated International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) was rapidly established, contributors including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and others. The force began deploying on Sunday 19 September.


Because of political changes in Europe, the British Army presence in Germany has reduced considerably since the end of the Cold War. It now comprises a District Headquarters, the United Kingdom Support Command (Germany) and the 1st (UK) Armoured Division which has its headquarters at Herford. This Headquarters commands three armoured brigades located at Bergen-Hohne, Osnabruck and Paderborn. It is the most powerful division in the British Army and is equipped with 300 Challenger tanks, 275 Warrior Armoured Personnel Carriers, 96 self-propelled AS-90 howitzers and 18 Multiple Launched Rocket Systems (MLRS).

The United Kingdom provides the Framework Nation for the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), with headquarters in Rheindalen. The British Army provides over 60% of the headquarters staff and two of the 10 division available to the Corps. This amounts to a total commitment of 55,000 troops, with just under half based in Germany.


The British Colony of Gibraltar is a high rocky headland on the southern coast of Spain. With an area of just over 2 square miles and a population of 30,000, its location is at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, where the Straits between Gibraltar and Morocco are only 15 miles wide.

Gibraltar was captured from Spain in 1704 and was formally ceded to Britain in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht. Since then, Spain has laid claim to Gibraltar on a number of occasions.

Gibraltar is well situated to observe shipping channels through the Straits and it could dominate the western entrance to the Mediterranean in time of war. Its communication systems, runway facilities and harbour make it an important base for NATO.

In 1992 the last British regular Infantry battalion left Gibraltar, and was replaced by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. Despite this, the headquarter staff appointments are still filled by members of the British Armed Forces. Each year Territorial and regular Army soldiers from Britain are given opportunities to spend two weeks in the colony to take part in low-level training.


The armed forces in the north of Ireland are as subdivided into three brigade areas, which exactly match the three Police Regions: 3 Infantry Brigade (Portadown), 8 Infantry Brigade (Londonderry), 39 Infantry Brigade (Belfast).


Under an agreement with the Kenyan Government, three infantry battalions per year carry out six-week exercises in Kenya.

The training, named Exercise GRAND PRIX, takes place over the winter months and allows infantry battalions to carry out live firing, as well as experience a wide variety of climatic conditions, from desert to rain forest.

A Royal Engineer Squadron also deploys to Kenya over the same period to carry out a civil engineering project.

A small permanent administrative element called BATLSK (British Army Training and Liaison Staff Kenya) is based on the outskirts of Nairobi and provides the logistic support to visiting units.


British Forces first deployed into Kosova with other NATO troops on 12 June 1999, under the command of Lieutenant General Sir Mike Jackson. The first troops to cross the border were members of the 5th Airborne Brigade. The 4th Armoured Brigade quickly followed them.

Once the country became more stable a multi-national force structure was established. The British forces are deployed in an area around the city of Pristina that encompasses the areas of Podujevo, Polje, Lipljan and Stimlje. Britain currently contributes approximately 5,500 soldiers from the 7th Armoured Brigade to the region, who are normally based in Hohne, Germany. These soldiers took over from 4th Armoured Brigade in February and will remain in theatre until August.

The main building block of the Brigade takes the form of 6 Battle Groups. Each is based on an Infantry Battalion (approximately 650 men), with the exception of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, which is an Armoured Battle Group. Each Battle Group is responsible for a particular sector and is instrumental in the implementation of the Commander's Mission.


The Malvinas Islands are a British Dependent Territory situated in the South Atlantic, some 350 miles north east of Cape Horn. They have been in continuous British occupation since 1833.

Argentina disputes the British claim to sovereignty over the islands. The country bases its claim to the Malvinas (or the "Falklands" as they are called by the British government) on the grounds that it succeeded to rights claimed by Spain in the eighteenth century.


Overseas Royal Air Force Stations


RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus

The Sovereign Base Area (SBA) of South-Eastern Cyprus includes the airfield of Akrotiri, which was first opened in 1956. The RAF use the airfield as a staging post for transport aircraft, and as a temporary operating base for aircraft carrying out Armament Practice Camps. The RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, also use the airfield every year for their display work up. Permanently based at Akrotiri is No 84 Squadron with 5 Wessex HC2s, who perform Search and Rescue duties as well as a support role for the UN peacekeeping forces on the island.

RAF Ascension Island

Situated approximately in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and over 700 miles from its nearest neighbour, Ascension Island was used extensively as a staging base during the Falklands War. This is still the major role for the Station, which it performs for both the RAF and the USAF. Regular flights from RAF Brize Norton link the island to the UK, as does the six-weekly arrival of the MOD cargo and resupply vessels.

RAF Bruggen, Germany

RAF Bruggen was named originally after the nearest railhead, in the North Rhein Westphalia village of Bruggen; however, it is actually situated just outside the village of Elmpt some 6km away. RAF Bruggen is home to the Royal Air Force Tornado Wing in Germany and the Station was constructed on drained marshland within a heavily forested area in the short time of 12 months (July 1952-July 1953). This short construction phase was a direct result of the need to house the rapidly expanding NATO forces in the early fifties. The Station's history can be divided into three periods; 1953-1957 when it operated as a fighter station; 1967 until 1998, operating in the strike/attack role; from April 1998 the Station has operated in the attack role.

The base is currently the largest Tornado base in NATO. It is at present home to 2 RAF Tornado GR1 attack squadrons (IX(B) and 31 Squadrons), both of which took part in the Gulf War in 1991. The 2 Tornado Squadrons are declared to NATO as Main Defence Forces and Reaction Force (Air) assets. RAF Bruggen was tasked by NATO to mount offensive air operations against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia on the 28 March 99. The first mission from RAF Bruggen consisted of 6 Tornado GR1s and 3 VC10 tankers and was launched on 4 April 99. RAF Bruggen is also home to Rapier surface-to-air missile Sqn, 37 Sqn RAF Regiment and 12 Flt Army Air Corps. 37 Sqn RAF Regiment forms part of the UK contribution to the Immediate Reaction Force (Air).

At the end of March 1999, RAF Bruggen's population included 222 RAF officers and 1,881 airmen, 55 members of the other services and 590 civilian employees. When some 3,452 dependant personnel are included, the total population of RAF Bruggen was 6,100.

In June 2001, a parade was held to mark the official closure of the station. The Tornado squadrons will return to Britain before the base is handed over to German authorities.

RAF Gibraltar, Gibraltar

The RAF station at Gibraltar forms part of Headquarters British Forces Gibraltar. Although aircraft are no longer stationed on The Rock, Hercules and Nimrod and Tornado GR1B aircraft make regular visits.

RAFU Goose Bay, Canada

A team of RAF personnel is stationed at Goose Bay, a large military airfield in Labrador, to support RAF fast jet aircraft carrying out low level flying training. The fast jets are usually accompanied by VC-10s, Tristars or Hercules aircraft, providing AAR or transport support. Use of Goose Bay reduces the volume of training undertaken over the UK and hence cuts down on jet noise disturbance.

Mount Pleasant, Malvinas Islands

The most recent purpose built airfield in the RAF, Mount Pleasant was opened in 1984 to establish a fighter and transport presence in the Islands following the Falklands War. Currently based at Mount Pleasant are No 1435 Flight with 4 Tornado F3s, No 1312 Flight, with 2 VC10 K2/K3/K4 and 1 Hercules C1, as well as No 7, 303 and 751 Signals Units and a Rapier detachment from the RAF Regiment.

RAF Nordhorn, Germany

One of the largest bombing and gunnery range complexes in NATO, Nordhorn is used by the RAF and other NATO air forces for weapons training and exercises.

RAF Rheindahlen, Germany

Originally the administrative support centre for the 2nd Tactical Air Force and other units based in Germany and the Netherlands, RAF Rheindahlen was disbanded in 1993 and became the Rheindahlen Support Unit when it amalgamated with the Garrison. Today, the Station houses the Joint Support Unit and the Band of the RAF in Germany. With the closure of all RAF bases in Germany, Rheindahlen will shortly be handed across to the German authorities.

(Navy, Army and Air Force sources)

Article Index

West Midlands News In Brief

Goodyear confirms sacking workers in Wolverhampton

The tyre manufacturer, Goodyear, has confirmed that 468 jobs are to go at its Wolverhampton factory. The company is making the cuts as it reorganises its profit strategy. The firm has decided to stop manufacturing medium truck tyres. Talks between unions and the American President of the company have been taking place in an attempt to avoid the company's solution.

Car suppliers to Rover once more face bankruptcy

When Rover became Phoenix the effects on suppliers were hoped by many to have become minimised. Again another car parts supplier is faced with bankruptcy and is closing a factory in Coventry with a loss of 200 jobs.

The Novem Group, which is based at Toll Bar End, has been losing money since Rover stopped using its products. The company is hoping to downsize and move existing production to other sites.

A total of 219 permanent staff, along with a number of temporary workers, are expected to suffer layoff as an immediate result of the decision.

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