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War in the Falklands Round 2

February 18, 2010

HMS Hermes, now in Indian service as INS Viraat.

Updated at the bottom!

It has long been predicted that the struggle for resources will heat up in this new century, but haven’t wars always been about the desire for greater national wealth? Despite all the talk of the possibilities stemming from Green Fuel alternatives, fossil fuels still predominate and will likely continue to do so for some time. So we come to the recent sparring of words, at least so far, over a major oil discovery off the coast of British controlled Falklands Island that promises to make some extraordinarily rich. Just who that “someone” will be brings us to this present crisis. Here from the Times Online:

Argentina has declared that it is taking control over all shipping between its coast and the Falklands, in effect awarding itself the power to blockade the disputed islands.  According to a decree issued by President Kirchner last night, all ships sailing through the waters claimed by Argentina must hold a permit. The measure seems likely to deepen a row over conflicting claims to oil beds lying inside the Falkland Islands’ territorial waters…

“Any boat that wants to travel between ports on the Argentine mainland to the Islas Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. . . must first ask for permission from the Argentine Government,” Aníbal Fernández, the Cabinet chief, said.

The Islanders and the British Government don’t seem to be worried over a renewed conflict, but what about the Falkland’s Defenses? According to Save the Royal Navy, the UK presence in the South Atlantic comprises “1 destroyer, 1 patrol ship, 1 survey ship, 1 fleet auxiliary tanker“. There are also a company of Army Grenadier Guards, about 500, plus 4 Typhoon fighters from the RAF. Probably the island’s greatest asset is its airbase, RAF Mount Pleasant, built shortly after the 1982 Conflict. This airfield can receive large transatlantic cargo planes and other military aircraft that should easily bolster the defenses in an emergency, barring some unforeseen calamity.

Navy Lookout also describes the deployment of guided missile destroyer HMS York to the South Atlantic as “routine” despite the sensationalist article to the contrary in the Sun newspaper. The giant and versatile oiler RFA Wave Ruler, of a class New Wars has great respect, is also in the area.


Though I am sure the following deployment of RN forces to the North Pole is equally  “routine”, the Argies can’t help but notice the possibilities. From the Ministry of Defence:

Cold Response is a multi-national NATO exercise led by the Norwegian Armed Forces and directed by the Norwegian National Joint Headquarters, designed to offer challenging training in the middle of an Arctic winter…

The task group of ships includes HMS Ocean, Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Mounts Bay and the Dutch Landing Platform Dock HNLMS Johan de Witt. The flotilla is led by HMS Albion, the fleet high-readiness amphibious flagship, carrying staff from Commander Amphibious Task Group and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.

The conditions around Norway are not unlike those which would be encountered in any renewed conflict down South. Though there is little doubt the British Armed Forces has declined greatly since the 82 War, we think the deployment of HMS Ocean proves there is much bite left in the Lion. There are still the aging RN light carriers to contend with, though without permanently based and specialized naval Harriers. The nuclear submarines also must be factored in, recalling HMS Conqueror’s history making destruction of the Argentine cruiser Belgrano.

Though I would hope Britain would restore its defenses, I don’t see the continued purchase of high ticket weapons, like the giant supercarriers as the answer, but the problem. The deployment of manned naval air in this new century means placing much of your precious shipbuilding funds in a few capable, but hardly versatile platforms, which cannot be in more than one place at a time. Proof of this can be seen in the current state of the Royal Navy with essential escorts and submarines discarded to maintain funding, and still the deployment of adequate new ships and planes seem farther away. With even the USN superpower struggling to maintain their shrinking numbers of carriers with adequate types and quantities of aircraft, we think the fewer such vessels bought would spare the Navy much grief.

The deployment of HMS Ocean is clear evidence that even a small carrier strategically placed is a supreme asset to a Navy on a budget.


MoreJess the Dog is concerned over the Argentinean A-4 Skyhawks:

The Royal Navy has been stripped of the air defence capable Sea Harrier FA-2, replaced by the ground attack (and radarless) Harrier GR9 with AIM 4L Sidewinders as the only air-air armament. At the same time, the Argentines have upgraded their A4 Skyhawk aircraft to the superior A-4AR Fightinghawk which has a radar.


Update-From the Military Photos forum, I borrow the following aircraft armament info:

Tornado GR4
+ Sea Eagle
+ Brimstone
+ Maverick

+ Harpoon
+ Maverick
+ Sting Ray

43 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2015 12:14 pm

    Señores váyanse de nuestras islas .A falta de territorio adoptaron el oficio de piratas.Dueños de bancos y aprendices de diplomaticos.Va de trabajar ni hablemos.Lo único bueno Shakespeare.De hacer esclavos saben bastante

  2. Ricardo Foster permalink
    September 29, 2010 1:50 am

    Hey brits, don’t worry we are no longer demanding an armed solution to recover those pieces of rocks. Diplomacy and pacific negotiations will show that we’ve evolved a lot since the Malvinas/Falklands episode in 1982. For world’s eyes you are a menace as you invaded Irak with no justification, and in a near futurer, you’ll be using a silly excuse to go war again, perhaps with us the south americans, or not!

    PS: Yes I know i am an english descendant in Argentina, but I rather be an argentinian with all our defects than a brit…

  3. Peter permalink
    April 8, 2010 10:25 am

    Just for those of you who have not lived in Latin America, Hugo Chavez is not like by many, they believe him to be more of a clown than the rest of us, especially as they have the blessing of speaking the same language.

  4. criss of herts permalink
    February 23, 2010 3:14 pm

    thanks matt,,,, now that 32 countrys in south america and other places have backed her.
    and this CHAVEZ bloke , i hope we can put up some kind of defence . i think this goverment
    may be wishing and hoping they do nothing. as we are going to look pretty silly if we cant back ths one up .

  5. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:19 pm

    Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has now spoken his mind regarding Britain’s presence in the South Atlantic… |:-(

    Hugo Chavez demands Queen return Falkland Islands to Argentina

    President Hugo Chavez delivered a bizarre attack on the Queen when the firebrand Venezuelan leader demanded Britain return the Falkland Islands to Argentina.

    Argentina claims regional support in Falklands row

    PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said Latin American leaders backed her objections to oil exploration in the British-controlled Falkland islands, as the first well began drilling on Monday.

  6. Mat permalink
    February 22, 2010 4:13 pm

    Chris of Herts, the Type 45’s Aster missiles have not yet been successfully integrated, tested or fired. To date, all the T45 can offer against air attack is 2 x Oerlikon 30mm cannon and a Mark 8 naval gun. The House of Commons Defence Select Committee (UK spelling) recently called the T45’s slow system integration and rising costs a “disgrace”. (No surprise that BAE is behind this delay.)

  7. February 22, 2010 4:23 am

    The twice weekly airbridge between RAF Brize Norton and RAF Mount Pleasant was recently awarded by the MOD to Air Seychells. There bid was 2 pence lower than British carriers including both BA and Virgin. It’s just this sort of thing that inspires confidence !

    The argentinians could take the Falklands if they did it right. Our problem is that our defence cut backs and planning actions require us to depend on their incompetance.

  8. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 21, 2010 9:20 pm

    Thanks Chris, Des, and everyone for your thoughts and opinions. Much appreciated!

    Thanks tango for your informative post as it is encouraging. Like you I believe whatever the deficiencies of the RN, the Argentines are much worse off. Specifically i think the problem not in the ships themselves, just the fallen numbers. Back in 1982, it took about 40 warships to retake the Islands, out of a total force of over 100, not including reserve ships and merchant and support vessels used for war service. Today, the RN has about 40 warships in its entire fleet.

    The navy which so recently wanted to scrap the RAF, must be breathing a sigh of relief the burden of the Falklands is on the flyer’s this time.

  9. criss of herts permalink
    February 21, 2010 8:17 pm

    the uk has a population of abt 60 odd million, and 3 of them [MOD] [the goverment]
    and [bob] yes bob or mr ainsworth???? stats that the type 45 ship is the best in the world.
    worth two of any other. and the best thing since sliced bread, now im no expert on these things, [honestly] but if these type 45 are THAT good why dont they send one of them down their. if what they say is true. then when the argentines get a whiff that the most powerfull destroyer in the world is coming to visit you. then surly they would straight away confine their navy to the history books. sell of their airforce . and confine the army to base .sat sorry to britain and say it was all an error . and blame someone else. and that would end this little conflick before it gets started. .now i dont belive all this.but this seems to be the impression that these [3] give the british public, [im proberbly wrong] but worth a word or two ????

  10. criss of herts permalink
    February 21, 2010 7:20 pm

    the people of argentina could just dump their leaders [if this is poss,]
    if the argentina people just give up the falklands forever and oficialy and state that they belong to the uk for ever . then pople might like them better . and help them recover. gorden brown likes helping others rather than his own people, so if argentina gets in very quickly and let them go. gorden will help them and give thm millions of dollers before he loses power in better be quick [pass it on]

  11. February 21, 2010 6:00 pm


    Mike Burleson said:

    “Consider, in 1982 the Royal Navy was ready. Today they are not.”

    In 1982,the Royal Navy was ready to fight Soviet nuclear submarines in the North Atlantic.
    It was not ready to fight the Falklands War.
    It is now.

    Every Royal Navy warship,and many auxiliaries,now has the ability to shoot down fast jets and anti-ship missiles,unlike the fleet that sailed south in 1982 with completely inadequate air defences.
    The Royal Navy is today very well trained in engaging fast moving air threats,again,unlike in 1982.
    This capability was demonstrated when the Royal Navy became the only navy ever to shoot down an anti-ship missile in the Persian Gulf in 1991.
    The Royal Navy also has airborne early warning which it lacked in 1982.
    The air attacks which Argentina used so successfully in 1982 are no longer viable against the Royal Navy.

    In 1982,the Royal Navy’s passive sonars,which were very useful against noisy Soviet nuclear submarines in deep water,proved inadequate against Argentine diesel-electric submarines in shallow water.
    Today the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates have the world’s best shallow water anti-submarine capability thanks to the Merlin helicopter,Stingray torpedo and low frequency active/passive sonar 2087 and 2051.

    In 1982 the Royal navy had a small,old and not very capable amphibious force which was about to be retired from service.
    The amphibious force was lacking in both helicopters and suitable vehicles.
    Today it has an all new and very capable amphibious capability,including a helicopter carrier and tracked armoured vehicles suitable for the terrain in the Falklands.

    In 1982 British ground forces were not combat experienced and were poorly equipped.
    Today they have many years of constant,intensive infantry combat experience and excellent personal kit.

    One thing has not changed since 1982,the Royal Navy’s submarines can still sink any Argentine warship they can find.
    The difference today is they can do it much more quickly with high speed Spearfish guided torpedos.

    Those submarines can also punch holes in runways a convenient times,as can the Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force Harriers with Storm Shadow missiles.
    Again,unlike 1982 when Argentinian airbases were left to go about their business.

    With the capacity of the Invincible class carriers now increased to 23 Harriers,and a total fleet of 74 aircraft,a task force is likely to take at least 60 Harriers with it to the Falklands.
    The two aircraft carriers would take 46 between them,H.M.S.Ocean cannot sustain Harrier operations but she and many other ships can ferry aircraft and launch them in an emergency.
    While the argentinians significantly outnumbered the British aircraft in 1982,today the British would have a 3:2 advantage although their fighters would lack radar.

    In summary,Argentina has no chance of taking on a modern British naval task group,although it has every chance of overwhelming the meagre defences in the Falkland Islands,see here:

    The Argentinians know there is little point invading the Falklands if they can’t hold them for more than a month.
    Which is why they won’t invade them,despite the weakness of the defending forces.


  12. February 21, 2010 4:24 pm

    The Royal Navy has outdated warships. Type 42 destroyers with faulty weapon systems and low stores. The new and few type 45’s are coming on line – but need to be weaponed up. 20 year old frigates and none in the pipeline. No Fleet Air arm capability that would work. Of course the Royal Navy could not re do the Falkands campaign of 82.

    The experts say that funding will inevitably fall in the coming years.
    I disagree. As for navy planning – they are right on the issues. It’s events and politicians that change and re-align. Looking ahead, the tax payer and the poor wretch at No 10 won’t have much choice – we are entering choppy waters. The Royal navy will be loved once again. IMHO.

  13. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 21, 2010 8:18 am

    Des, I understand what you are saying, but the facts argue against it. Consider, in 1982 the Royal Navy was ready. Today they are not. I understand about the socialism problem, but as I always say politics is beyond our scope, and then again, the social programs have been around awhile, so shouldn’t the admiral take this into consideration when designing future ships?

    So instead of the type of military you want, you build the one that you can afford. Even if it is one that is just barely “good enough” isn’t that better than expecting the enemy to wait 5 years before they attack when you can have new supercarriers, hopefully the planes to fit them and maybe the missiles for the escorts ships ready? That is just wishful thinking as progress waits for no one.

  14. February 21, 2010 8:03 am

    I disagree that the Royal Navy have sold themselves for the two carriers. 13 Years of socialism have cut the navy in half. The problem is cronic underfunfing year upon year.

    I also believe that this bubbling argy bargy problem could save the Queen Elizabeth class carriers. The Fast jet portion of the RAF should be given over to a newly revitalised Fleet Air Arm. The last time the RAF shoy anyone down was 1945 after all. I think further left field events could save MOD funding going forward – even with the debt crisis. At 2.2 pc of GDP – funding is starting from a low base.

  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 20, 2010 6:36 am

    The price the RN is paying for apparent “more capability” seems unbearable. Capability is no replacement for availability, and they need ships and planes NOW. This is the high cost paid for planning for future obscure threats, worse case scenarios, and ignoring the day-to-day problems of warfare.

  16. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 20, 2010 1:31 am

    It would be a rather rude surprise if it turns out the Argentines have a lot of Chinese made cruise missiles they have neglected to tell us about.

  17. February 19, 2010 7:12 pm

    Hello Chuck Hill,

    There are about 70 harriers in the fleet (and plenty of Sea Harriers lying around too) but the frontline strength is 36 aircraft with four squadrons,two Royal Navy and two Royal Air Force.

    It should be noted that the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm has a habit of rapidly forming new frontline squadrons in emergencies.
    When the Falklands war broke out the Royal Navy had three Sea Harrier squadrons,800,801 and 899,but a newly formed 809 Squadron was sailing for the Falklands withing three weeks of the Argentine invasion.

    It is no coincidence that the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers were designed to take 36 combat aircraft.
    Despite the many internet myths about carrier wings being axed,the plan has always been to have one carrier wing operational.
    That would require a fleet of about 63 carrier capable aircraft.
    The rest of the F35s are intended to replace land based aircraft,giving them the possibility of supplementing the carrier wing in an emergency or forming a second wing if the second carrier is not in refit.

    However,the latest round of defence cuts suggest a further reduction in the harrier fleet until the new carriers come into service.
    Possibly with all the Harriers transfering to the Naval Strike wing squadrons and the Royal Air Force becoming an all Typhoon force.


  18. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 19, 2010 6:20 pm

    If I read this right:

    The maximum deployable Harrier force is 36 aircraft.

  19. February 19, 2010 6:15 pm

    Hello Chuck Hill,

    Nimrods are not routinely stationed in the Falklands and the entire Nimrod M.R.2 fleet is being retired early on 31st of March.

    The current Seaking Airbourne Surveilance and Control Mk.7 is a huge improvement on the first airbourne early warning system introduced in 1982.
    Though many of the airframes may be the same.

    More details here:


  20. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 19, 2010 5:39 pm

    Do they fly Nimrod out of the Falklands? if not it is an awfully long haul.

  21. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 19, 2010 5:30 pm

    Looks like the Argentines don’t have any AEW.

    The only illustrations I have seen for the AEW helicopters operated by the Royal Navy look like the Sea Kings that were used in 1982. Are they the same aircraft?

  22. February 19, 2010 4:41 pm

    “Recently the RAF has been worried its forces would be dispersed to the Navy and Army. etc. ”

    Sticky one this. The RAF has a tremendous pull with the British public. If you asked the man in the street about the Falklands in ’82 he would probably say that the Army won the land battle, the RAF shot down the Argentines, and the Navy had it ships sunk. In fact the speed the RAF were moved into Stanley after the war was a damning indictment of the cancellation of the carriers in the 1960s. And I think these scenarios you good people are coming up with show the vulnerability of Mount Pleasant today. Imagine a special forces raid on the airfield. They wouldn’t have to take the field to take out of action. Even if they got a plane aloft who could guarantee the security of the field it had to return. I bet the Israelis could pull something off like this. You would only need two or three ships in international waters to overwhelm the surveillance capabilities of the garrison.

  23. February 19, 2010 4:31 pm

    The ’82 campaign was straight out of a 1950s era USMC play book.

    As Chuck said the Argentines have invested a lot in “higher grade” infantry. But I would suggest only a core of this would be approaching NATO standards of “normal grade” infantry.

    If I were the Argentines I would out source; but I think I have been reading to much about PMCs lately.

    Attacking/seizing/offensive action oil platforms would probably attract more ire than grabbing the islands……

    It should be remembered all the big oil firms today aren’t European or American.

    All good clean fun this! :)

  24. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 19, 2010 4:28 pm

    Chuck, there is something I haven’t considered, using their own airbases against the British. So we see Mount Pleasant as the key here for both sides, at least in any initial conflict. I don’t think the Argentines would be able to pull this off, but like you say, we have been surprised before.

    If I were the British, I would worry more about defending the airbase than the sealanes here. Which brings up an interesting point. Either way this goes, I don’t beleive a conflict or even the possibility of a conflict is going to save the British Carriers this time. I think the admirals and their supporters are looking for this, but the budget troubles now are just too much to bear, and the reality that we are in a new type warfare, where land power is predominating.

    Recently the RAF has been worried its forces would be dispersed to the Navy and Army. Everyone must see, however, the economy a handful of fighter jets on the Falklands is probability deterring full scale conflict, backed by RN surface forces. Where the first Falklands Conflict proved the salvation for the Navy, any renewed crisis can only turn for the benefit of the RAF. If I were the air generals I would play this for all its worth. The return of the “Few”.

    This goes along with my theory, because airpower today is so effective, you can do more with less. These handful of Typhoons are the primary deterrence in the Falklands, and everyone knows this. Even the aging RAF Harriers, not as good as the old Sea Harriers, might still make a difference, if the Islands were to fall. We recall that just as the Argentines surprised us in 82, so did the effectiveness of this little jump jet even against supersonic conventional planes that outnumbered them greatly.

  25. February 19, 2010 4:24 pm

    Jed said “X – I was being sarcastic”

    Sorry. I was more rambling on I wasn’t trying to correct you. I was using what you said as a jump off point to continue the conversation. I believe ideas and discourse are sculptured.

  26. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 19, 2010 4:08 pm

    I find it a little difficult to believe they will come to blows over this, but then I did not expect it in 1982 either.

    Looking at it from the Argentines point of view, if you are planning to retake the islands at some point, you would want to do it before the Queen Elizabeth becomes operational. The fact that the Type 45’s SAM is not operational yet is also a plus.

    The RAF Air Base may actually be a vulnerability in that four fighters are not enough to even maintain Combat Air Patrols over the runway. If it is too weekly defended, and the Argentines can seize it and operate their own aircraft from it, it will be very hard to retake the islands.

    The Argentines look weak in amphib lift, but combine that with a healthy airborne assault and they might be able to pull it off.

    Checking Wikipedia,

    in 2006 the Argentines formed a “Rapid Deployment Force” built around their Paratrooper Brigade, and in 2008 a Special Operations Forces Group was created based on two Commandos Companies, one Special Forces Company and one PsyOp Company.

    If I were planning an Argentine move I would provoke a fight when the drilling rig arrives. Send a Almirante Brown Class Meko 360 frigate to seize it. If York attempts to intervene, at close range, I think the 360 would overwhelm it with volume of fire. In any eventuality, once the shooting starts, they have a vale of justification for an assault on the islands.

    First I would attempt to take out all the aircraft on the ground. Then keep up a continual presence in the air to wear down the defending fighters. Even if all four fighters survive the initial attack they can’t keep up a defense 24 hours a day.

    As you beat down the defending aircraft, launch your amphib invasion to divert the British defending soldier, and then when they are well tied up, make the airborne assault on the airfield.

    Any British fleet will still be two weeks away. Move all the Super Etendards plus air defense fighter onto the island. Use the Etendards to attack the British fleet at night when the Harriers would be least effective.

    With about 50 Argentine aircraft on the Falklands including interceptors, attack, and MPA the air situation would be very different from 1982. The Harriers could not be employed without putting the carriers well within range of the Argentine aircraft.

    Argentine submarine forces are also more formidable than they were in 1982.

    The Brits could turn the situation around by attacking the Argentine mainland. Then you have a very different war. Its something the Argentines ought to consider.

  27. Alex Mk.2 permalink
    February 19, 2010 2:13 pm

    A fourth comment on the subject with regards to US interference(or lack of) would likely echo of ’82, if situations become more tense no.10 would request to purchase a sizeable amount of US kit, on the list would be long range SAM(Patriot?) a number of Tomahawks etc.

    Before I forget to correct myself, ARA have a collection of MM-40(the one with the range) Exocet missiles and 10 viable launch platforms (all of which are little more than sitting Harpoon targets with far less than adequete AD), I can’t comment with regards to AM-39 but there are only a handful of serviceable SuE airframes remaining and they wouldn’t be able to fly under the radar of Daring and Dauntless like T42s

    – Alex.

  28. Alex Mk.2 permalink
    February 19, 2010 1:46 pm

    The FAA’s ace up their sleeve is about two-dozen refurb(if that) airworthy Skyhawks and AFAIK no AShMs will be found in the Argentine inventory…

    – Alex.

  29. Chuck Hill permalink
    February 19, 2010 12:15 pm

    Would love to know a bit more about the state of Argentine armed forces, particularly the status of their Anti-ship cruise missile inventory.

  30. Jed permalink
    February 19, 2010 9:22 am

    X – I was being sarcastic, I never, ever ‘rely’ on any assistance from the U.S., nor would we get any from our erstwhile Euro- allies. I am not sure why all the talk about Tornado’s and what they can or can’t carry, or are we all thinking that UK politicians might actually act in advance of a full scale invasion this time ? (by sending Tornado’s to Mount Pleasant? Do they have the range to hit Argentine air bases with Storm Shadows ?).

    Argentine forces maybe in a crap state, but so what. So are the UK’s, they are over stretched, over committed, under equipped and under “loved” by their political masters. Logistics is key to this, the oil is basically on Argentina’s door step, its the other end of the globe for the UK and the only realistic defence for such far flung resources is a strong navy. Gordon Brown should go down in history as the destroyer of the RN, and now he is making his empty “we will defend the Falklands” soundbites – I am sure the locals are full of confidence !

  31. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 19, 2010 9:04 am

    Mr X, good analysis. I would be surprised if the US did anything of an overtly military nature, even a show of force. However the diplomatic field is wide open. We have to live in this Hemisphere and in no way should we push Argentina closer to Chavez. This would not be in Britain’s interest either, since instead of just the Argentine threat to the Falklands you would have a united and belligerent bloc.

    Probably there will be some type of sharing of the oil, though ultimately I think the bulk share should go to the Islanders.

  32. February 19, 2010 6:53 am

    Of course this could be a different campaign than ’82 if the Argentines didn’t make the mistake of trying for a Falklands land grab.

    I am going to have to do some rethink……..

  33. February 19, 2010 6:41 am

    This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 2/19/2010, at The Unreligious Right

  34. February 19, 2010 6:06 am

    I thought Sea Eagle had gone to the great munitions dump in the sky a few defence reviews ago…….?

  35. February 19, 2010 6:04 am

    “I would just find it very very interesting if the Argies did something, and with the recent staunch support of the UK for Iraq and Afghanistan, if the US did NOT send a carrier strike group to the RN’s assistance ! That would cement the ’special relationship’ for sure…….”

    You have to be careful in taking US assistance fore granted. US-Latin American relations are complex. Argentina isn’t too friendly towards the US at the moment. And the US needs to sustain a counterbalance to support for Venezuela in the region. All a bit complex. But as I said this “war” will be fought out with chattering diplomats not chattering machine guns. All very interesting but nothing will happen. That isn’t to say that the ARA won’t try something like arresting a ship or something.

    I wonder if the RN’s poor performance in the Gulf (especially the RG taking that RN party hostage) has embolden the Argentine administration?

  36. William permalink
    February 19, 2010 5:54 am

    The GR4’s also carry StormShadow ALCM, of which there are approx. 900 in UK inventory.

  37. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 19, 2010 5:22 am

    Alex, thanks for the info on the GR.4. Like you I’d don’t expect to see open conflict. Time is on the Argentines side if they are patient. I expect they could try some type of harassing tactics, as the Spanish are doing over Gibraltar? The unconventional versus the conventional.

  38. Alex Mk.2 permalink
    February 18, 2010 11:12 pm

    RE: Tonka armament, GR.4 has never seen a Sea Eagle, mk.1B was the anti-shipping aircraft and the role wasn’t maintained when the tonka’s got the mk.4 refit, although she does carry Storm Shadow.

    and Nimrod raises another question, if hostilities were imminent Mk.4 would be out the door and in the air in a matter of months…

    Mavericks are news to me, I think Harriers once used them I’d put money on Tonka’s never even being considered and i’d put my kids on Nimrod never carrying it(win-win situation)
    – Alex.

  39. Alex Mk.2 permalink
    February 18, 2010 10:59 pm

    Every few years someone brings up the epic fable of South Atlantic mk.2, It’s not going to happen, the patrol ship(HMS Clyde) and surveilance vessel(HMS Endurance) are routinely in the region, the addition of a Destroyer and RAS vessel does appear wierd and if you want to think strategically RFA Largs Bay is in the Caribbean(Was there for Haiti relief, AFAIK this is additional to whatever is there ATM on the drugs sweeping route) and if there really was any worry of the balloon going up then you can guarentee penny to a pound that there is a Trafalgar in those icey waters too and work would be hurried beyond beleif on the Darings and the rotting T42s and HMS Invincible would be attracting a lot more attention from men in suits

    Don’t even start about Argentina posing any threat; by comparison to Argentine armed forces her majesty’s forces have improved in capability exponentionally.

    PS: The sun(scum) is not a credible refference(for any affair[actually their cover of affairs is second to none] let alone defence matters), this second-class bog paper mis-identified RFA Largs Bay as HMS Clyde

    – Alex.

  40. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 18, 2010 7:34 pm


    There’s no need to send a USN CVN battle group to gain the attention of those in power in Buenos Aires. Instead, the U.S. could the following:

    1) Send one or two Burke class DDGs to sail the sea between Argentina and the Falkland Islands. Allow anyone on the mainland who might be aggressively minded realize that there might also be one or two SSNs keeping the DDGs company (as if they wouldn’t be along for the cruise)…

    2) If the balloon does actually go up, then having one, two, or three USAF B-1B Lancers perform a low level overflight of Buenos Aires at supersonic speed might be a better manner of making displeasure known to the general population (when every pane of glass in BA shatters). Then, those in BA can rid themselves of the stupid politicians.

  41. Jed permalink
    February 18, 2010 7:02 pm

    I would just find it very very interesting if the Argies did something, and with the recent staunch support of the UK for Iraq and Afghanistan, if the US did NOT send a carrier strike group to the RN’s assistance ! That would cement the ‘special relationship’ for sure…….

  42. February 18, 2010 4:11 pm

    I am reserving judgement on this for the moment.

    EEZ’s are still international waters. A lot of South American politics is done for show. There was a time when Argentina was the South American country. Now it is falling far behind Brazil and doesn’t attract the attention of Venezuela.

    Let see what happens when ARA actually try and enforce this…………

    Even today the ARA is no match for the RN. The only thing that worries me is the Argentine “habit” of carrying large ASM on large helicopters.

    One more thing. Every year (nearly) there is a vote on the Falklands in the UN. All (well nearly) the Third World nations vote for the motion. It is international relations in action; this mean mostly hot air and a lot of b******s.

  43. D. E. Reddick permalink
    February 18, 2010 2:46 pm


    This situation is now being noticed and discussed elsewhere.

    Falklands Campaign 2010

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