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"To succeed in Afghanistan," that's one of the goals the U.K. MOD has included in its 2011-2015 business plan. That is probably some welcome news for some of the U.K.'s allies, who may have started to wonder in recent weeks what the U.K. objective was despite withdrawing its forces by 2015.But besides stating the obvious, there is actually substance to the new MOD document. In it, the government spells out some key milestones related to its force realignment in the wake of the Strategic Defense and Security Review. The first big milestone is April 2011. By then, a series of initiatives should be underway or have been completed, including:-- a first report on major program delays-- removal of the Joint Force Harrier-- decommissioning of HMS Ark Royal-- the start of reductions of the Tornado fleetThe report also notes that by March 2018, the U.K. plans to have completed its effort to "accelerate Typhoon force growth and increase multi-role capability." The document also notes that the transition to the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter program is due to be completed by April 2023.For the land forces, two major milestones (in addition to the phase out of Harriers, which has as much implication for the army as for anyone else) come in April 2015, when the Challenger 2 tank fleet will have been reduced by 40% and the heavy artillery armored vehicle fleet will have been trimmed by 35%.
ar99, tacair, Afghanstan, JSF, Typhoon
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