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British troops end combat operations in Afghanistan

The UK has handed over control of Camp Bastion in Helmand province to Afghan security forces. The move marks the end of the British military presence in the country.

Troops from across the Meridian region were among those serving in Afghanistan in a operation that spanned over a decade. In that time 453 troops lost their lives.

The last Union flag of Great Britain flying above the skies of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, is lowered. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The last Union flag of Great Britain flying in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, is lowered by Captain Matthew Clark, left, and Warrant Officer 1 John Lilley. The Union flag will be returned to the UK by Brigadier Rob Thomson, after a ceremony at Camp Bastion signifying the end of combat operations in Helmand by British and ISAF forces.

New robot to test protective army suits in Wiltshire

The “Porton Man” uses state of the art technology to test suits for the Armed Forces Credit: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

The Ministry of Defence has invested £1.1m ina new state-of-the-art robotic mannequin that will test protective suits andequipment for the UK’s Armed Forces.

The “Porton Man”, named after the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, based in Porton Down in Wiltshire, is able to walk, march, run, sit, kneel and can even lift its arms to sight a weapon like an infantry soldier.

The “Porton Man” uses state of the art technology to test suits for the Armed Forces Credit: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

More than a hundred sensors all over the body record data during tests enabling scientists to carry out real-time analysis on equipment such as chemical and biological suits in a realistic but secure environment.

The “Porton Man” uses state of the art technology to test suits for the Armed Forces Credit: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

Mannequins have been used by Dstl in the past, but this animatronic version, which is designed and built by a British company, is unique to the UK.

The “Porton Man” uses state of the art technology to test suits for the Armed Forces Credit: Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

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British Forces parcel warning

The British Forces Post Office service deliver parcels to Afghanistan Credit: Crown copyright 2013

The Armed Forces are urging the public to support the British Forces Post Office by using Service charities to deliver their mail.

In the 100 day run-up to Christmas, the British Forces Post Office receives a high volume of parcels to be sent to operational zones.

The BFPO receive a high volume of gifts to be sent on to operational zones Credit: Crown copyright 2013

The overload of parcels are sent to personnel in Afghanistan as well as other countries and Royal Navy ships.

Operational machinery delivering gifts and mail to those in Afghanistan Credit: Crown copyright 2013
Staff from the armed forces working to move parcels Credit: Crown copyright 2013
  1. National

UK to withdraw 11,000 troops from Germany by 2016

Prince Philip meets British troops at Fallingbostel in Germany in 2011. Credit: PA

Around 11,000 British troops based in Germany will return home by 2016 under plans which will see nearly £2 billion invested in Army housing and bases, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will announce today.

Under the speeded-up withdrawal, the remaining 4,500 troops will be back in the UK by 2019, a year earlier than planned.

Around £1bn of the funding being announced today will go towards 1,900 new houses for service families and accommodation for 7,800 single soldiers.

Another £800 million will be spent on infrastructure and refurbishment of bases.

The Government hopes the plans will mean more cash is ploughed back into the British, rather than German, economy as well as creating new construction jobs in the UK.

Savings of around £240 million a year are also expected to be made through reductions in operating costs.

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Hammond to announce future of German army bases

An overhaul of military bases will be announced later today. Credit: Press Association

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will unveil his plans for a large scale withdrawal of UK troops from Germany later today.

The 15,000-strong British Army of the Rhine has been in Germany since 1945 and was due to return by 2020.

The Daily Express is reporting that the majority of soldiers will be withdrawn by 2016, with the last 4,500 due back in 2019.

Another 17,000 MoD employees will come back over the same period.

  1. National

Bionic leg technology: How does it help?

All members of the Armed Forces, past and present, injured in Iraq or Afghanistan will be able to get state-of-the-art micro processor limbs, known as "bionic legs".

The benefits of the new legs:

  • Dramatically improve the quality of life for rehabilitation amputees
  • The leg will provide better stability
  • It will allow for more mobility
  • Improvements in the ability to step over obstacles, negotiate stairs and walk backwards safely
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