Russia questions Britain’s claim to the Falklands as garrison reinforced

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said the Islands will be ready to repel “any potential threat” following reports that the Kremlin is preparing to lease 12 Su-24 long range bombers to Buenos Aires in exchange for beef and wheat.

Some £180 million will be spent over the next decade in upgrading the island’s defences, Mr Fallon told the Commons.

Two Chinook helicopters, which were sent to Afghanistan in 2006, will return and allow troops to respond to possible incursions more quickly, while a new system will replace the Rapier air defence missiles when they go out of service at the end of the decade.

The Mount Pleasant garrison will get a new communications system, while Mare Harbour will be upgraded.

The troop levels will remain at around 1,200, and a British patrol vessel – currently HMS Clyde – will remain stationed off the Islands.

It followed a review that found the Islands’ defences are “broadly proportionate” to the current threat level.

Mr Fallon said: “We will continue to defend the right of the islanders to determine their future and defend their way of life against whatever threats may arise.”

David Cameron added: “The assurance that I can give the Falkland Islands is that we will always be there for them, we will always defend them.”

The Russian intervention came in response to Philip Hammond, who used the first anniversary of the Crimean annexation to condemn the “sham” referendum as a “fig leaf” for Putin’s “land grab”.

In a statement, the embassy said: “In its rhetoric Foreign Office applies one logic to the referendum in the Malvinas/Falklands, and a different one to the case of Crimea”…

Related: How would we save the Falklands this time? Any lingering doubts that defence should take centre stage as an election issue must now be laid to rest following the announcement by Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, that he is beefing up Britain’s military commitment to the Falkland Islands to counter a “heightened” invasion threat from Argentina.

At a time when our dwindling Armed Forces are already struggling to deal with the very real challenges from Russian aggression in Europe and the rapidly-expanding menace of Islamic State in the Arab world, no doubt the last issue Ministry of Defence planners expected to reappear on the horizon was defending the Falklands.

For all the excitable rhetoric and dire threats that we have heard from Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the Argentine president, about forcibly reclaiming Las Malvinas, no one in Whitehall has believed that Argentina poses a serious threat…

h/t Marvin

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  • Drunk_by_Noon

    The Su-24 first flew in 1967 and has been out of production for more than 20-years.
    In the face of a modern (and especially western) air-defense network, they would have short but very exciting lives.

    • Exile1981

      Lease them I noticed it said; does that mean the Russians will have to maintain them because they know the Argentinians have no ability to do it in house successfully.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        Yes, that would include maintenance and spares and everything else to keep them operational, such as a ready supply of jet engines.

        That’s actually one of the methods how the old Soviet Union and Russia would keep their client states ‘on the reservation’.

        Their “maintenance philosophy”, if you could call it that, called for the removal and replacement of the power plants every few months.

        This played heck with our “Have Rivet” program when we were flying “obtained” MiGs over the deserts of the American southwest in the 1970’s & 1980’s.

        Flying and maintaining MiGs (and Sukhois and Tupalovs) without the support of the Motherland is not for the fainthearted and even us could barely keep a single MiG-17 and a MiG-21 squadron (of each) flying.

        • Exile1981

          So if you pulled the engines was there a reason they could not be re-instaled? Was it something designed to wear out or more that they had to service them or something more deliberate?

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            All of the above, but mostly critical parts have short in-use or operational lives.
            They just yank the engine, install a new one, and then send the old engine back to the factory to get rebuilt.
            Most western built jet engines can go between 10,000 – 40,000 hours before being junked or rebuilt. Less hours for military power plants.
            Many russian engines are lucky to make it past 2,000.

          • Exile1981

            So the follow up to that is does the engines the russians use domestically in fighters have the same short life cycle or is that specific to “export” engines.

            I ask because I have seen that tactic used before.

          • simus1

            When the Chinese communists did their first big buy of American jet airliners – can’t remember now but probably from Boeing, they insisted on a huge buy of spare engines as well.

            They were thinking of their Russian aircraft experience plus the risk of US spares embargoes if relations got rocky later. Anyway, the active and spare engine sets cycled through their life cycles on schedule with little fuss, year after year. The Chinese eventually sold off their “strategic reserve” of unused engine sets still in their original packing. EACH engine sold for more than they had paid for an entire jet airliner way back when.

            After that, they likely thought maybe this capitalism thing needs to be studied more closely!

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Great illustration simus. I never heard that one before, but it completely makes sense.

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            The military stuff probibly has a shorter lifespan than their civilian stuff, but I’d still not say that their civilian jet engines aren’t anywhere near as close to what GE, P&W, or Rolls Royce are building.
            I’m not saying they aren’t safe, or that they blow up and fall off the wings, they just don’t last as long.

  • k

    The West had better get some Nationalist spirit and
    lose the apologist rubbish =
    the Vultures are circling

    • Frau Katze

      They sure are.

  • Minicapt

    Perhaps one might query the righteousness of Russian claims to Siberia.

    Cheers

  • Doug Kursk

    Ponder this: the UK can devote a patrol ship, 2 heavy lift helicopters, garrison 1200 troops and maintain a defensive missile system..for a sovereign wind swept piece of nowhere..and Canada can barely support under 2000 expeditionary soldiers (both combat trades and support elements) in the field for any length of time without stripping the country bare and neglecting other areas of concern.

    Without the Conservatives’s massive injection of cash and equipment, we would never have had the capability to stay in Afghanistan as long as we did.Until recently, we had no heavy lift aircraft or helicopters (as in none folks…) outdated armoured vehicles and fast air that were new 30 years ago!

    We had seriously rethink how much we value our land and peoples lest we fall into the malaise that befell us prior to WW2, when it was found that in 1936 we had 25 machine guns (15 Vickers and 10 Lewis) for the ENTIRE Canadian army.

    Remember, the expeditionary force we sent to Hong Kong was not equipped with heavy mg’s (or light for that matter…) no mortars or anti-tank weapons. The mills bombs they were given (234 in total) were borrowed upon promise to repay from the British. 5 Thompson SMG’s were bought from the Montana Police force before embarkation and ammunition was modified for them from .455 Webley cartridges that the officers carried. Most NCO’s and enlisted men carried WW1 vintage Lee-Enfield rifles and some carried even older ‘Long tom’ models that were obsolete even before the Great War!

    We had better wake up.

    • Doug Kursk

      btw, an American gun web site has a Thompson that was captured by Marines on Okinawa. It may be one of the SMG’s bought by Canada. It has no serial number and is a model produced for Police and Civilian use, so there is that! It certainly has an interesting history.