HMS Dauntless Goes To The Falklands

It seems the only thing Britain can do to stop the Argentinians from taking over the Falkland Islands, is to send our newest, most up-to-date warship, HMS Dauntless, a type 45 Destroyer.

HMS Dauntless – Can She Do It Alone?

From the rhetoric you would think Dauntless can stop any future invasion single-handed! One Navy source is quoted as saying, Dauntless could “take out all of South America’s fighter aircraft let alone Argentina’s.” Another said: “It can shoot down Argentine fighters as soon as they take off from their bases. This will give Buenos Aires serious pause for thought.” Hmmm! Ever hear of a stand-off missile or well-aimed torpedo matey?

Dauntless Fires A Sea Viper Missile

Dauntless is equipped with Sea Viper anti-aircraft missiles and Sampson radar which is said to be more powerful than that of Heathrow airport. It is hailed as the most advanced and sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic ship in the world, and according to the Navy, could defend the Falkland islanders from air attack all on its own. Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord and Falklands veteran, sent this message to the Argentine government:  “Should there be any foolish nonsense from Argentina, Dauntless can sit just off the airfield and take down any aircraft coming in. It’s a game-changing capability.” That is an enormous amount of faith to put in a new ship and its crew. One can only hope its anti-submarine defences are as good as its anti-aircraft defences.

I did predict in an earlier post  that since the demise of our carrier fleet and the harrier jets in the last round of defence cuts, the Falkland islanders would be practically defenceless. https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/falklands-to-be-handed-over-to-argentina/

General Sir Mike Jackson

It seems I am not the only one with that view, for last week, General Sir Mike Jackson, a former head of the Army, stated just that by saying: “The demise of jets capable of launching from aircraft carriers would make it just about impossible to recover key strategic strongholds” He went on further to say: “The official answer will be that it would not be possible for the Argentinians to gain a foothold on the islands, in particular to take Mount Pleasant airfield, which is key to the British defence plan. We have a large international-sized airfield to allow for very rapid reinforcement by air, should circumstances so require. But I suppose I have learned in life, never say never. What if an Argentinian force was able to secure the airfield? Then our ability to recover the islands now would be just about impossible”.

Mainstay Of The Islands Defence – The Eurofighter

From the current information available, it would seem the government is putting all its faith in the four Eurofighter aircraft based at Port Stanley airfield that would ‘hold the fort’ long enough for reinforcements to be flown out from the UK. Four fighters against an invading force backed up by the Argentine Air Force does not seem like a lot, no matter how advanced the Eurofighter is. It would take only one or two bombs on the runway to put the airfield out of action and give the fighters nowhere to land. Not only that, but any reinforcements would have no option but to ditch in the sea.

The Ascension Islands – A Vital Refuelling Stop

The next great flaw in the plan is the presumption that the American’s would allow refuelling of  any aircraft flown out from the UK at Ascension Island in the Mid-Atlantic, even though it belongs as such to Britain. The American’s, who share the island for intelligence gathering, have exerted more and more influence over what goes on there, all due to the oil finds around the Falklands. In 1982 they did not object to the British Fleet refuelling there, but it is far from certain they would this time. American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has already made it plain America is backing Argentina for a negotiated settlement of the Falkland Island sovereignty. So the chances of help from that quarter look mighty slim. Without the refuelling capabilities of Ascension Island, any operation against the Falklands is a non-starter. That goes for ships as well as planes.

The Falkland Oil Field

It would not be unreasonable for someone to question why all this political sabre rattling is going on over what is really a small insignificant couple of islands in the South Atlantic. Oil! That’s what! The Argentine heart has quickened now they know there are huge oil reserves buried under the seabed around the islands. I am pretty sure that is the reason for American interest and it’s backing for Argentina in the war of words, plus the sudden change in its ‘special relationship’ with Britain. People should have learned by now that the American government doesn’t do anything unless its in America’s interest.

The defence cuts may have been hailed as good for the government’s purse, but with all that oil in the mix I have a sneaking suspicion the whole thing could unravel in the not too distant future. I sincerely hope not.

Roy.

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