Monday, July 13, 2009

80 per cent of kit removed from Iraq

80 per cent of kit removed from Iraq
July 13, 2009

An Equipment and Logistics news article

The operation to return British military equipment from Iraq, one of the biggest logistic challenges to be undertaken by British military forces in modern history, reached its 100-day point on Friday 10 July 2009.

The Joint Force Logistic Component (JFLogC) is the driving force behind Operation BROCKDALE which commenced on 1 April 2009, and they estimate that 80 per cent of the work is already complete.

Commenting on Operation BROCKDALE on Friday, the Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth said:

"The withdrawal of UK forces from Iraq has been conducted in good order and with consummate skill and I congratulate everyone who has been involved. This is intelligent logistics at its best, ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.

"In their first 100 days, the Joint Force Logistic Component, supported by forward-based civilian teams from the Defence Support and Distribution Agency, has made magnificent progress and I am confident they will continue to do so until the task is complete."

The Commander of JFLogC is Brigadier Paul Stearns Royal Marines who said:

"Today's military equipment is at a premium, it is high quality and high value. It's vital we get it to its next home fully refurbished or put on the shelf ready for use again as quickly as possible.

Operation PIKE - Combat Logistic Patrols removing kit and equipment from Iraq
[Picture: Cpl Steven Hughes, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]
"The taxpayer has invested a lot of money in our equipment and my team are acutely aware of this. It is my job to protect that investment."

The task faced by JFLogC when they arrived in Iraq on 28 March was immense with almost 4,200 troops in Iraq, an estimated 5,000 containers of equipment to process, and over 600 vehicles from Challenger tanks to quad bikes to deal with.

Since then the JFLogC have made every one of the 100 days count.

Lieutenant Colonel Darrell Amison, the Commanding Officer of 4 Logistic Support Regiment, who make up the mainstay of the specially formed Theatre Drawdown Unit or TDU, said:

"Of the 5,000 containers we had to deal with we have shipped to the UK, sold or disposed of almost all of them.

"We have now processed all but 100 of the vehicles that are due to go back home, and we are on track to get the remainder where they need to be by our target date of September."

In an innovative military development the TDU was specifically generated to reflect the requirements of Op BROCKDALE, incorporating a Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Armoured Equipment Support Company to process vehicles and a Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) General Support Squadron to deal with the hundreds of thousands of items of kit and equipment.

Operation PLUNDER - Royal Military Police teams check containers prior to sealing and shipping
[Picture: Cpl Steven Hughes, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]
It also leads the way with the incorporation of the forward-based, specialist civilian logistic teams drawn from Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (DSDA) bases in the UK.

Amongst the other logistic innovations pioneered which are delivering significant benefits are:

A commissioned compendium of equipment designed to identify and assign a final location for every item of equipment.
A mobilised team of nine reserve quartermasters with 225 years of collective experience to reconcile six years of accounts handed down from unit to unit.
A Theatre Equipment Returns Section (TERS) developed to strip vehicles of electronic countermeasures, special communications equipment and protective armour, in order that they can be both shipped safely and the removed equipment re-assigned.
Liaison with the Forestry Commission to allow DSDA teams to process and certify wooden packing material in Iraq to international regulatory standards.
Specialist DSDA civilian packing teams, forward-deployed to ensure cost-effective packing to a standard that it would be expected to be received by UK depots.

A Warrior armoured vehicle is loaded onto a Heavy Equipment Transporter prior to taking part in an armoured convoy out of Iraq
[Picture: Cpl Steven Hughes, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]
Commenting on his recent visit to JFLogC, Lieutenant General Dick Applegate, Chief of Materiel (Land), stated:

"I have taken a close personal interest in the progression of Op BROCKDALE from a Defence Equipment and Support and MOD point of view. Everything I have seen and heard provides me with reassurance that Op BROCKDALE has gone extremely well."

From one of the open working areas in the heat of the Kuwaiti desert Private Tammy Lockwood of 33 Squadron RLC said:

"I know that the work we are doing here makes a difference. Only last week we were processing body armour from Iraq that will go to Afghanistan to replace worn or damaged armour in theatre.

"It's hard work and long hours. When we first started the task seemed impossible but we've made steady progress and cracked most of it."

Included in the inventory of equipment removed from theatre to date are four Lynx and three Merlin helicopters, ten Challenger main battle tanks and over 70 other armoured vehicles, including Mastiff. Both the Mastiff vehicles and the Merlin helicopters are destined to go to Afghanistan later this year.

The majority of kit has been shipped to the UK on one of four civilian Roll-on/Roll-off ships, operated on a long-term lease by the MOD to transport military supplies and equipment. To date six ships' worth of military hardware has been dispatched, with another two to go later this month.

Apart from a small number of forces who will likely remain in Iraq, subject to the agreement of the Iraqi Government, to continue training and mentoring the Iraqi Armed Forces, British personnel, kit and equipment are due to be home by 31 July 2009.

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