Category: Published Articles

British sniper rifles used against Assad rebels

High-powered British sniper rifles made by a Portsmouth-based company, Accuracy International, are being used by marksmen loyal to the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to attack opposition rebels.

Footage of the regime’s marksmen using the weapons, which each cost £4,500 and have a range of just under a mile, appeared last week on Russian television as President Vladimir Putin ordered a series of bombing and missile raids on groups seeking to overthrow Assad.

• Read my article on The Sunday Times web site (subscription required for full article)

Americans in frame to build new Trident submarines?

A Trident Submarine. Image: Crown Copyright

A Trident Submarine. Image: Crown Copyright

Defence officials are considering the appointment of an American contractor to run the construction of Britain’s four new nuclear missile submarines.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed last week that it was looking to shake up the procurement process for the planned £20bn project, which is highly contentious politically.

Read my article on The Sunday Times web site (subscription required for full article)

RAF squadrons will double to face Isis and Russian threat

RAF Tornado

RAF Tornados

The number of fast-jet squadrons is expected to double, amid fears that years of deep cuts have left the RAF too small to tackle the twin threats of Isis and Russian aggression.

Senior defence sources say the RAF’s senior commanders have made increasing the number of fighter and bomber squadrons from six to 12 a cornerstone of their submission to the government’s forthcoming strategic defence and security review.

The move would be embarrassing for the government, reversing the 2010 defence review which reduced the frontline RAF to its smallest size since the First World War.

• Read my article (written with Mark Hookham) on the Sunday Times web site (subscription required for full article)

Battle of Britain scramble will be largest since 1945

A mass formation of nearly 50 Spitfires and Hurricanes — about 70% of the iconic fighters still flying worldwide — will take to the skies over southern England next month to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Hundreds of thousands of people will see and hear the Second World War aircraft on September 15, commemorating a decisive moment in the battle between “the Few” of RAF Fighter Command and the might of Hitler’s Luftwaffe.

Read my article on the Sunday Times web site (subscription required for full article)

Dispute threatens to capsize £4bn Clyde warship deal

Computer graphic of the new type 26 Global Combat Ship. Image : BAe systems

Computer graphic of the new type 26 Global Combat Ship. Image : BAe systems

 

A multi-billion pound deal to build a new generation of Royal Navy combat ships on the Clyde has hit stormy waters.

Shipbuilders at Scotstoun and Govan yards are poised to begin work on 13 Type 26 frigates but the £4bn deal is mired in delays because of a dispute over costs between the Ministry of Defence and the contractor, BAE Systems.

Read my report on the Sunday Times web site (Subscription required for full article)

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