Archive for Ascension Island

HMS Dauntless Goes To The Falklands

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 02/02/2012 by floroy1942

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.

Falklands To Be Handed Over To Argentina?

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, Budget Cuts, Conservative Party, David Cameron, England, Government, Liberal Party, Nick Clegg, Obama, Parliament, President, Relationships, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on 15/06/2011 by floroy1942

Not a pretty thought, but its coming unless the Argentinians are asleep!

Admiral ‘Sandy’ Woodward

In January I wrote about the affect the current defence review will have on the future of the Falklands, and this week my view has been vindicated by none other than Admiral Sandy Woodward, who led the task force that recaptured the islands after the Argentinian invasion in 1982.

Related post:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/will-the-current-defence-review-cost-britain-the-falklands/

The Harrier – Even Able To Operate from a Merchant Ship

That he and I are of a similar mind comes as no surprise when you look at what the defence review has done to the Royal Navy. The loss of our aircraft carriers and its fleet of Harrier jets must have caused jubilation in the halls of power in Buenos Aires.

With the substantial weakening of the navy the sole means of defence for the Falklands depends on approximately 1,000 RAF personnel and between 500 and 1.000 Army troops stationed at Mount Pleasant. There were until recently only four aging Tornado aircraft at the airfield, but according to politicians in Whitehall the islands can quickly be reinforced by air from the UK at short notice.

Bombers View of Port Stanley Airfield

Any idiot can see that one Argentine aircraft loaded with bombs could put the runway, and therefore the airfield, at Stanley out of commission, and these ‘reinforcements’ would be ditching in the sea, or crashing on land, when they ran out of fuel. Admiral Woodward made this point clearly. There can be little doubt that without the Royal Navy carrier force the islands are lost.

The most worrying, and sinister development, is that the American government now clearly backs the Argentine claim to the islands. This has nothing to do with the so-called ‘Special Relationship’ the politicians are always crowing about between the United States and Britain, which in my view is now just a sham and only exists for as long as it serves America’s interests. I think the American government look upon Britain as a pet puppy these days, good for a laugh, and occasionally useful re: Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Thatcher/Reagan Special Relationship

Even in 1982 their was much sympathy for the Argentine position in America, but the special relationship (which was then real) between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Regan overruled the general consensus of opinion and top politicians adopted a neutral stance over the issue.

Today we have the Obama administration, and their idea of ‘the relationship’ is different.

At last weeks meeting of the Organisation of American States the USA representative signed a statement supporting Argentine’s claim to the islands calling them ‘The Malvina’s’, which is the Argentine name for the islands. So it is clear which way America will vote.

Clinton at the OAS Conference:

The Falklands Supply Chain

This is a major problem if (read when) Argentina invade again because the Ascension Islands, halfway between Britain and the Falklands, are a vital resupply and fuelling point for any task force, and its an American base. Obviously, refusal by the American’s to allow use of their base would effectively cut off completely any attempt by Britain to regain the islands if we see a repeat of the 1982 invasion. And naturally, that is not counting the fact that we no longer have a carrier force. To put it bluntly, the Royal Navy no longer has the capacity to defend the Falklands !

True, there are plans to build a new force of modern carriers, but the first is not due to be commissioned until 2020, so Argentina has the next nine years in which to invade and consolidate their position in the Falklands. It is fairly certain that should this happen the USA will back the action.

But why? The answer is oil!

Where the black gold is concerned no-one, especially the American’s, have little consideration for anything else, let alone United Nations Resolution 2065 from 1965 which still stands. Item 1 (paraphrased) reads: “bearing in mind……. the interests of the population of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas);”

Read it for yourself if you wish:

http://www.falklands.info/history/resolution2065.html

I was happy to hear the Prime Minister confirm in the House of Commons that the Falklands would remain British so long as the islanders wished it. Needless to say, this statement did not go down too well in Argentina.

It was discovered some time ago that there are massive oil and natural gas reserves  under the ocean close to the islands. There can be little doubt that America wants a piece of the ‘pie’, and what better way to get it than be ‘buddy’s’ with Argentina who for sure will be happy to hand over drilling rights in return for the islands. The USA will get the oil and gas and the Argentinians will also get rich from the revenue’s.

British Falklanders – And Proud Of It!

So you see, now the Argentinians have the backing of the USA, they will have nothing to fear on the world stage when they invade again, so  everyone will be happy, except that is for Britain, and the Falkland islanders.

All nice and neat, well, for everyone except us that is! For not only will our country have been humiliated on the world stage, but the Falklanders will have lost their identity, and we will have lost our share of the wealth lying under the southern atlantic ocean. What price the ‘special relationship then’?

I sincerely hope someone points all this out to our present coalition government!

 Roy.

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