Falkland Islands in the news again

Argentina, struggling to keep its socialist economy afloat, has once again turned to an external distraction to keep the masses from looking too closely at the regime’s domestic record. For the last year or so, the government of Christina Kirchner has made noises about regaining control of the Falklands. For the most part, it’s just more political posturing. There will forever be a certain segment of the population there that will agitate for the Argentine flag to fly over the Falklands, no matter how little the inhabitants of the islands may wish it.

But the discovery of possible oil and gas reserves in the waters around the islands has also made future earnings in the area tempting to Argentina.

Britain has for the most part downplayed the tensions Argentina has attempted to incite. But the British are becoming annoyed, as, from their view, the matter was conclusively settled in 1982. Mind you, Britain has no great desire to hold onto the islands, even with potential energy reserves there. It is a net drain for them to support the islands and maintain a garrison there. But having spent fortune and shed blood to regain the islands, the very last thing Britain will do is succumb to Argentine diplomatic pressure to cede the islands.

The islands will shortly hold another referendum on British rule, in which they will almost certainly reiterate their loyalty to the Crown. As a matter of international law and the UN charter, that should be that. And as a practical matter, of course, Argentina’s failure to maintain control after seizing them means their claim is illegitimate. Your territorial integrity claims are only as legitimate as you can enforce them.

I’ve written a bit about the naval aspect of the Falklands War of 1982 here on the blog (a kindle version of the series is available HERE for the low price of $0.99) and the challenges both Argentina and Britain faced in that battle.

Should the Argentinians attempt to again seize the Falklands by force of arms, the scenario for both sides would be radically different. For one thing, Britain no longer has any Harriers to deploy aboard carriers, and as such securing air superiority would be a much greater challenge. On the other hand, Britain has a much more robust land attack capability at sea these days via Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles. And should Argentina attack again, I think Britain would be wise to make its opening salvo in reply an attack on the Argentine mainland, specifically, sending a TLAM through the front door of the Casa Rosada.

If there’s a bit of interest, I can describe some possible courses of action both sides might take should it come to a shooting war again.

11 thoughts on “Falkland Islands in the news again”

    1. Oh, great. That’s just great. Two squids wanna hear the ARMY guy’s scenario for a war at sea in the South Atlantic.

      Either the Navy really needs to up its training, or I’m getting set up for failure!

    2. Yes, for the entertainment that’s in it. Particularly to see you whine about being set up.

      I like the idea of the opening of the Brit rebuttal being a missile through the window of the Presidential Palace.

  1. I’m just saying I’m interested in what you think. I’m not saying that it’s because I’m sure it will be hilariously wrong. Jeeze Brad, you’re getting paranoid in your old age.

    1. It’s not really all his fault. After all, this year Desert Storm (Brad’s op) will be old enough to drink.

  2. On the Gripping hand the British now have RAF Mt. Pleasant with a few Tornadoes, a couple of attack helicopters and half a battalion of the godliest troops on this planet and the local armed militia, funded something like 1 (100K?) million pounds a year. Mt Pleasant is fortified, and radar is kept moving on the other island for early warning.

    The British would hand them their asses again even faster.

  3. .5mt – i believe mount pleasant now has 4 eurofighters stationed there (maybe +2 spares, not sure) instead of tornados. i personally think a full 12 would be desirable – properly equipped they should handle any air or sea/land threat. there are also ~1500 military personnel compared to the around 40 in 1982, of which part is a full infantry battalion. there are also SAMs, artillery and helicopters (no Apaches as of yet). in naval terms there is a permanent OPV assigned to the region, and usually a type 23 frigate or type 45 destroyer about, plus quite often an unreported submarine. so all in all a much more robust defence. this costs around £65 million a year from the parliamentary figures, not including the capital cost of ships etc.
    on the flip side as noted in the post we currently do not have any fleet aircraft, and our single remaining invincible class carrier is now a helicopter carrier. we also have a tiny number of warships compared to 1982, though the assault component of the fleet is stronger. our (2?) new large carriers are scheduled to be online for around 2020, flying f-35b version – will this happen? hmmm!i would also suggest the last 10 years of conflict overseas has made our soldiers and marines very battle hardened, compared to argentine forces.
    our immediate strategy in the unlikely event of an attack would be a holding one whilst the RAF rushed in quick-response reinforcements (air and ground), and RN steamed submarines to the area to strangle argie lines of communication. like last time i don’t know if we would directly attack their air / sea bases, but we would have the ability to do so as in the post. [ i’m only half joking when i say a nuke on Buenos Aires might quickly settle any conflict … ].
    saying all this i don’t think argentina has the men or equipment for a round 2, or in fact enough home support (it’s all distraction politics from domestic issues), and as bad as the UK is economy wise etc. at the mo it sounds like argentina is truly up a certain creek without any paddle, life-jacket or in fact clue …
    would look forward to XBradTC post on a future conflict, much enjoyed the multi-part report done on the 1982 conflict (which got me reading this blog in the first place). cheers!

  4. I, too, would be most happy to see what those who have knowledge and thoughts on how Falklands II might work out.


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