The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has purchased new air defence radars to upgrade and bolster systems on the Falkland Islands. The move comes amid continued aggressive rhetoric from Argentina and news they are attempting to upgrade their fighter jet fleet.
Britain has ordered additional Giraffe AMB medium range 3-D radars to firm up ground-based air defences on the Islands. Saab, the Swedish firm that will manufacture them, confirmed the UK had placed an order worth £46 million on Monday.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned today that there was a “very live threat” to the islands. He told The Telegraph:
“It is our general view that the threat has not reduced. Argentina still, sadly, maintains its claim to the islands 30 or more years after the original invasion and the war and we have to respond to that.”
The purchase is part of a wider program being undertaken by the government to improve the air defences of the South Atlantic islands.
For a number of years the Argentines have been attempting to modernize their A-4 Skyhawk and Super Etendard combat jets. They first tried to trade meat and wheat with Russian for aircraft before agreeing a deal with China.
The UK already stations Typhoon combat jets, warships, helicopters and around 1,200 troops on the overseas territory, which sits around 300 miles from the Argentine coast. The MOD is also reported to have ordered new anti-aircraft missiles for the islands.
Mr. Fallon told Forces TV:
“The current military presence is broadly proportionate to the threats and risks we face. Our forces in the South Atlantic are entirely defensive, and are at the level required to ensure the defence of the Falkland Islands against any potential threat.
“However, I have agreed a number of measures designed to ensure our resilience for the short, medium and longer term.”
In June this year the Argentinian foreign minister used “threatening language” at an EU dinner, where he said the islands are Argentinian and accused Britain of “colonialism.”