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Britain Ceases Patrols in “Contested” Falkland Islands Due to Shortage of Warships

Due to the shortage of warships, there are concerns that Argentina might replicate its invasion of the islands in 1982, situated in the southern Atlantic Ocean, thereby triggering a second conflict with Britain.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — Due to a shortage of warships, the British Royal Navy has ceased deploying its main warships for patrols around the Falkland Islands, which were once the source of conflict between Britain and Argentina.

The lack of these warships raises concerns that Argentina may repeat its invasion of the islands in the South Atlantic, sparking a second war with Britain, as transpired in 1982.

The conflict between the two nations in 1982 lasted for 74 days, resulting in the deaths of 640 Argentine military personnel and 250 British military personnel.

Now, with the absence of patrols by the main warships of the British Royal Navy and Argentina’s military modernization, there is concern that the Falkland Islands may once again be invaded by the South American nation’s military.

Buenos Aires plans to modernize its forces by acquiring 24 used F-16 fighter jets from Denmark, used warships from France, maritime patrol aircraft, and submarines from Germany.

Falklands
 A British warship off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

 

The newly-elected Argentine President, Javier Milei, has previously asserted that the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is non-negotiable and intends to use diplomatic channels to compel Britain to “return” the Falkland Islands to Argentina, which refers to the islands as Isla Malvinas.

According to reports from British media, the Falkland Islands have not seen any visits from the country’s warships for the past seven years, despite the British government’s policy advocating patrols by its main warships around the islands.

Presently, the British Royal Navy only deploys a small patrol vessel, HMS Forth, and four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to conduct patrols in the waters and airspace of the British-owned islands.

The patrol vessel, HMS Forth, is equipped with a 30mm cannon system, while one of the four Eurofighter Typhoon jets is not operational, possibly due to maintenance issues.

Previously, patrols around the waters of the Falkland Islands were conducted by frigate or destroyer-class ships equipped with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.

Falklands
HMS Forth

Falklands

Sources within the British Royal Navy have informed the Telegraph that the navy is facing a shortage of main warships, and if the security situation in the Falkland Islands worsens, they will need to revisit this issue.

Currently, 11 frigate-class ships of the British Royal Navy are engaged in various operations, with two ships scheduled for decommissioning due to a shortage of personnel.

The Type 31 and Type 26 warships are expected to be commissioned and enter service with the British Royal Navy by the end of the 2020s. — DSA

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