Mar 25, 2015
UK Seeks To Update Falklands Air Defense
Defence Secretary outlined plans to deploy helicopters and upgrade port facilities along with the GBAD system to boost Britain's military on the islands.
Two Chinook support helicopters will be operational by the middle of next year along with communications capabilities for the British headquarters at Mount Pleasant airfield.
A number of projects to replace some of the aging infrastructure are also included in the long-term capability plans, including the refurbishment of Mare Harbour.
The introduction of the Chinooks is a significant capability which will provide reactive, 24/7 tactical mobility, in order to allow a swift and decisive response to any emerging incidents.
The announcement follows a review of the islands' defenses conducted by the MoD over the last 18 months or so.
The British defend the island with a force including four Typhoon jets, an offshore patrol vessel, a ground based air defense system and infantry.
There are about 1,200 soldiers, sailors and airmen based on the Falklands.
Even before the announcement, Britain had already taken a significant step toward updating its air defenses on the Falklands by kick-starting a competition to supply a key element of a new ground-based system.
With an aging Air Force, Argentina poses no threat to the islands. The Argentineans, though, have been trying, so far without success, to modernize a force that consists of Mirage III, Super Entendard and Nesher combat jets.
The Buenos Aires government has always denied media reports that it was in talks to buy or lease Sukhoi Su-24 jets from Russia in a beef-for-fighters barter.