Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon will announce that the world famous Royal Air Force Red Arrows will tour the Middle East next month.
On a visit to Kuwait, Sir Michael will announce that the Reds will perform in the country as part of a wider regional tour, with a programme that will promote the United Kingdom’s long-standing relations across the Gulf. The Defence Secretary will also review the campaign to defeat Daesh with commanders in the coalition headquarters in Kuwait.
Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, said:
This historic Red Arrows tour will be a visible demonstration of UK engagement across the globe, flying the flag to promote Britain in important capitals through the GREAT campaign.
Kuwait is a vital partner. I will be looking to strengthen our military relationship with more frequent joint exercises and I will be reviewing the next steps in the campaign against Daesh with commanders at the Coalition’s headquarters in Kuwait.
At a time when the UK is negotiating a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union, it is continuing to look outwards globally. The tour will highlight the partnership with the British Armed Forces in each nation visited, as well as demonstrating that the UK is ‘open for business’, committed to peace and security, and a leading player on the global stage.
The UK was one of the first members of the coalition and has focussed on supporting Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition to defeat Daesh. British soldiers in Iraq have trained over 58,000 Iraqis in battle winning infantry, counter-IED, engineering and combat medical skills and the RAF have struck over 1,400 Daesh targets in Iraq and Syria as well as providing highly valued surveillance and reconnaissance, air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft.
Ahead of the three year anniversary next month of UK involvement in the military campaign, the Defence Secretary review the progress with coalition Commander, US Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend and British Major General Rupert Jones, the Deputy Commander.
During the visit, the Defence Secretary will also announce a draft Defence Cooperation Accord which formalises the relationship with Kuwait and covers loan personnel and support to UK military personnel on training in Kuwait, which follows UK participation in exercise Desert Warrior earlier this year, the first time UK and Kuwaiti forces had exercised together for 15 years.
The Red Arrows tour will allow for further close cooperation with Kuwaiti and regional armed forces and promote opportunities for investment and trade with the UK, encourage government-to-government engagement to develop economic partnership, and showcase the excellence of STEM education with UK universities with displays in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain.