On Monday the United Kingdom ordered a new $74 million radar defense system to strengthen Falkland Island’s ground-based air defence systems in case of a potential military attack from Argentina.
UK Defence Secretary refused to comment on where the radars were being sent, in the beginning of this year the UK government stated that they were going to upgrade South Atlantic islands’ defenses with the Swedish manufactured Giraffe radar systems.
The deal was made with Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab for the Giraffe AMB radars. The vehicle-mounted radars will be able to detect threats up to 120 km away and reportedly first order will be delivered by the end of the year.
Head of Saab Business Area Electronic Defense Systems, Micael Johansson, said “We are delighted to have agreed to this significant expansion and upgrade of the Giraffe AMB fleet with the UK Ministry of Defence,” and added that the contract will begin this year and will be finalized in 2018.
Johansson continued his statement by adding “We are looking forward to supporting both potential mission deployments and further systems evolutions based on our spiral development for Giraffe.”
British Defence Secretary claims Argentine is looking to update its air force with Russian and Chinese jets. Secretary Michael Fallon emphasized Argentina’s new military upgrades and stated there was a “very lively threat” to the Falkland Islands.
Secretary Michael Fallon stated, “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.”
Britain currently has an estimated 1,200 ground troops, which includes an infantry company, logistics staff and engineers on the islands.
Islands are also protected by four Typhoon fighter jets that patrol the islands’ airspace incase of a possible attack and have orders to intercept or shoot down Argentine jets if necessary. Falklands are also protected by a frigate, which is stationed in the South Atlantic.
Tensions between Argentina and the UK have been steadily rising since Argentina’s invasion of the islands in 1982.
The war lasted about ten weeks and resulted in the death of nearly 1,000 troops. The war ended with Argentina’s surrender. However, Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands and recognizes the islands as Malvinas Islands. Falkland Islands are home to around 3,000 residents, who voted in a referendum in 2013 to remain under British rule.
Past June, Argentina ordered the seizure of assets of five oil drilling companies operating in the Falkland Islands and ordered the companies to stop their exploration activities.
A month later in July, Argentina’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to Buenos Aires to get a response for the “silence of the British government” over media reports concerning electronic spying claims UK supposedly carried out.