Australian Minister for Defence Materiel visits Afghanistan the United Kingdom and Spain

Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel Jason Clare has vis­it­ed Afghanistan accom­pa­nied by Chief of Navy, Vice Admi­ral Ray Grig­gs. The Min­is­ter and Chief of Navy met with Aus­tralian Defence Force (ADF) and US com­man­ders and troops at Mul­ti-Nation­al Base Tarin Kot, Camp Bak­er in Kan­da­har and Al Min­had Air Base in the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates.

They were briefed by: Major Gen­er­al Angus Camp­bell, Com­man­der, Joint Task Force 633; Colonel Robert Akam (US Army); Com­man­der, Com­bined Team Uruz­gan; Colonel David Smith, Deputy Com­man­der, Com­bined Team Uruz­gan; Lieu­tenant-Colonel Chris Smith, Com­man­der Men­tor­ing Task Force 3; and the Com­man­der of the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group.

They were briefed on ADF oper­a­tions across the Mid­dle East Area of Oper­a­tions, focus­ing on the work in Afghanistan and Navy’s con­tri­bu­tion to Task­force 150 in the Per­sian Gulf.

They were also briefed on the recent insur­gent attacks on the com­pounds of the Gov­er­nor of Uruz­gan and a local secu­ri­ty chief in Uruz­gan Province on 28 July 2011.

The Min­is­ter also met with the Gov­er­nor of Uruz­gan, Haji Omar Shirzad, at Mul­ti-Nation­al Base Tarin Kot. In Tarin Kot and Kan­da­har the Min­is­ter and Chief of Navy were briefed on the imple­men­ta­tion of force pro­tec­tion mea­sures, includ­ing: the new TBAS com­bat body armour; upgrades to Bush­mas­ter vehi­cles; the Counter Rock­et Artillery Mor­tar (C‑RAM) sys­tem; work to hard­en accom­mo­da­tion and work­spaces in Tarin Kot; and the Heron and ScanEa­gle Unmanned Aer­i­al Vehi­cle capa­bil­i­ty. They were also briefed on the arrival of the next rota­tion of two Aus­tralian Chi­nook heli­copters into Afghanistan. The Chi­nooks arrived in June and com­menced air oper­a­tions ear­li­er this month. The Min­is­ter and Chief of Navy are now in the Unit­ed King­dom for meet­ings with Defence offi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Defence indus­try. In the Unit­ed King­dom they will meet with: .Ger­ald Howarth MP, UK Min­is­ter for Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Strat­e­gy;
.Mr Bernard Gray, UK Chief of Defence Materiel;
.Rear Admi­ral Steve Lloyd, UK Chief Strate­gic Sys­tems Exec­u­tive, MOD;
.Mr Richard Panigu­ian CBE, Head of UK Trade and Invest­ment Defence and Secu­ri­ty Organ­i­sa­tion;
.Mr Kei­th Smith, Region­al Direc­tor Asia Pacif­ic, UK Trade and Invest­ment Defence and Secu­ri­ty  Organ­i­sa­tion;
.Dr John Coles, BMT Defence Ser­vices, who will lead the recent­ly announced review of sub­ma­rine sus­tain­ment in Aus­tralia;
.Com­modore Paul Cun­ning­ham, Head of Dis­pos­al Ser­vices, MOD;
.Mr Guy Grif­fiths, Group Man­ag­ing Direc­tor – Inter­na­tion­al, BAE Sys­tems;
.Mr Archie Bethel CBE, Chief Exec­u­tive, Bab­cock Marine & Tech­nol­o­gy Divi­sion;
.Mr Craig Lock­hart, CEO Bab­cock Pty Ltd, Aus­tralia; and
.Mr Mike Homer, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Sub­ma­rine Oper­a­tions, Bab­cock Marine & Tech­nol­o­gy Divi­sion. They will also inspect the recent­ly acquired Largs Bay amphibi­ous ship and the British sub­ma­rine sus­tain­ment facil­i­ty at HMNB Devon­port in Ply­mouth. Fol­low­ing this they will inspect work on the hulls of the two new Land­ing Heli­copter Dock Ships cur­rent­ly under con­struc­tion in Fer­rol, Spain.

While in Spain they will also meet with: .Con­stan­ti­no Mendez, Span­ish State Sec­re­tary of Defence;
.Luis Cacho, CEO Navan­tia;
.Mr Paco Baron, Vice Pres­i­dent for Com­mer­cial and Indus­tri­al Coop­er­a­tion, Navan­tia;
.Mr Domin­go Ure­na-Raso, Head of Air­bus Mil­i­tary; and
.Miguel Morell, Senior Vice Pres­i­dent, Air­bus Mil­i­tary. Navan­tia are build­ing the hulls for two Can­ber­ra-class LHD amphibi­ous ships and are plat­form design­ers for the Hobart-class Air War­fare Destroy­er. Air­bus Mil­i­tary is the prime con­trac­tor for Australia’s mul­ti-role tanker trans­port (MRTT) refu­eller air­craft. Media con­tact: Tim Quadrio – +61 (0) 401 976 269

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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