On Saturday the BBC reported that the RAF has imposed a 'no-low-fly zone' around a part of mid-Wales to ensure passing jets and helicopters are no danger to a pair of breeding ospreys. | The BBC also reported that British and Burmese authorities could work together to find 20 Spitfires buried in Burma at the end of the Second World War. | The Sun reported that eight paintings purchased at a cost of £272,000 when Geoff Hoon was Defence Secretary still have not been sold. | On Sunday various media reported that militants have staged a wave of co-ordinated attacks on the Afghan capital Kabul and other locations. | The Press Association reported that a bomb has been discovered in North Belfast. The device had been in the Alexandra Park area for some time, police said. Army Technical Officers investigated it and declared it viable. | The Independent on Sunday reported that hundreds of people paid tribute to Captain Rupert Bowers at his funeral in Shropshire. The 24-year-old was killed in Afghanistan last month. | The Daily Star Sunday reported that RAF pilots in Afghanistan have new state-of-the-art 'Star Wars' type helmets which beam data onto the inside of the visor. | The Sunday Express reported that Olympic bosses are stepping up security measures against a terror attack on the Games by installing secret military radar to detect low-flying aircraft. | The Daily Star Sunday said that nearly 200 former members of the Special Air and Boat Services are being recalled for duty to help with security at the Olympics. The paper says it comes after warnings from MI5 over potential terror attacks. | The Sunday Telegraph ran a piece by the Prime Minister in which he says that he was proud to promote Britain and British defence companies during his recent trip to Asia. | The Sunday Express reported that MOD staff have received compensation payouts worth £61m in the last year after claiming for injuries sustained while at work. | Today, the Times online reports that the MOD is reconsidering changes to Britain's aircraft carrier programme. Armed Forces chiefs will advocate the Government drop plans to buy the F-35C variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. | The Press Association reports that a massive military exercise involving troops from across Europe and North America is getting underway today. Joint Warrior will see warships, submarines and aircraft take to the west coast of Scotland for a two-week training exercise. | The Telegraph reports that British soldiers wounded in the line of duty are suing a specialist military medical unit for negligence.
Major Projects Review Board
An article in the Sun on Sunday was critical of the MOD's Major Projects Review Board (MPRB), which was established last year to look at the Department's top fifty programmes.
Major steps have been taken to bring projects inherited from the previous government back on track and on budget. The MPRB has met three times in the last ten months, with immediate action taken against poor-performing projects. If no improvement is made, they are named and shamed, as happened in October.
Future carrier strike capability
The Times today speculates about decisions relating to the UK's future carrier strike capability.
The Strategic Defence and Security Review set out a strategic view of our defence requirements and took the decision to reintroduce carrier strike capability as part of Future Force 2020. This government is committed to implementing that decision.
We are currently finalising the 2012-13 budget and balancing the Equipment Plan. As part of this process we are reviewing all programmes, including elements of the carrier strike programme, to validate costs and ensure risks are properly managed. The Defence Secretary will announce the outcome of this process to Parliament in due course.
Attacks in Kabul
Various media have reported on a series of co-ordinated attacks in Kabul and in other provinces in Afghanistan by insurgents, including an attack on the British Embassy. The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) took the lead in responding to these attacks and were successful in containing and removing the threat they posed.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:
"I commend the professionalism and courage shown by the Afghan security forces in the face of the co-ordinated attacks in Kabul. The ANSF response to these attacks clearly demonstrates their capability and the progress made towards the transition of responsibility for security in 2014."
Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
"I strongly condemn the co-ordinated attacks against the Afghan parliament, a hotel, an ISAF camp and diplomatic premises in Kabul and other Afghan provinces. The British Embassy was one of the diplomatic premises that was targeted.
"I am pleased to report that every member of Embassy staff is safe and that there has been limited damage to Embassy premises. I would also like to praise the staff in the British Embassy, who dealt with this dangerous situation extremely professionally.
"The Afghan National Security Forces responded to the attacks bravely, promptly and effectively, once again illustrating the significant progress that has been made in ensuring that Afghans can look after their own security. Britain stands with the government and people of Afghanistan as they work to build a peaceful future."
General John R Allen, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force, said that he was 'enormously proud' of how quickly Afghan security forces responded to the attacks and that ISAF will work hard to determine the circumstances that led to the events.