OK, so this is a spot of fun, a quick and dirty Yuletide Top 10 of things from the sweety shop we might like to purchase to improve the security of the Falkland Islands against an aggressive and resurgent Argentina.
Ordinarily, Numbers 1, 2 and 3 would be a political backbone, more of what we already have and lots more training but where would be the fun in that?
So here is my Christmas Top 10 of things on Santa’s list;
- Number 1 – Improved Passive Protection
- Number 2 – Improved Detection Systems
- Number 3 – Improved Land, Sea and Air Mobility
- Number 5 – Improved Littoral Protection and Patrol
- Number 6 – Attack Helicopter
- Number 7 – A Pair of A400’s with all the trimmings
- Number 8 – A Pair of SIMSS
- Number 9 – Brimstone and Paveway IV
- Number 10 – An Invitation to the Scandinavians
- Number 11
Number 1 – Improved Passive Protection
The construction techniques are simple, the equipment and materials cheap, yet they provide both an increased defensive capability and of course, a visual deterrent.
The ISO container based sangars equipped with remote weapon systems would also provide additional protection.
This is not expensive either, so a low cost stocking filler.
Number 2 – Improved Detection Systems
There are of course three large radar installations on the islands at Mt Kent, Byron Heights and Mount Kent that provide 360 degree coverage against sea and air threats, they have been upgraded over the years but a longer range and more modern integrated system would be useful.
Coupling these with acoustic, electro optical and other sensors systems in an integrated coastal surveillance package would provide warning against any covert intrusion.
Surrounding key and likely entry points would be a range of sensors, everything from buried fibre optic acoustic sensing (very clever stuff), to perimeter systems and remote electro-optical installations. There is no need to go mad and cover everything but netting multiple sensors into a wide area wired/wireless network makes any covert or surprise intrusion that much more difficult to detect and provide greater information to any responding units.
Sensors alone are not enough, but the means to collect the date, rapidly analyse and disseminate useful information to those that can do something with it are equally as important.
Pop over to Ultra Electronics for some interesting information, plus, makes a change from BAe.
Number 3 – Improved Land, Sea and Air Mobility
This means a wider range of vehicles, small craft and helicopters.
There are a range of helicopters already there but some of these are civilian charters and with the eventual withdrawal of military Search and Rescue it would be a good opportunity to establish a permanent multi-function military helicopter flight but whatever is chosen they should have a decent ISTAR fit and preferably be armed. Take your pick from Wildcat, Puma LEP or Merlin, Merlin would be preferable because it can lift a Viking when decoupled.
Given the terrain anything land based must either be limited to roads or have exceptional off road mobility, how about half a dozen BVs10 Vikings but shorn of the weighty Aghanistan theatre entry armour?
This would provide protected mobility for the FIDF and infantry units and logistic support.
Something lighter would be the Supacat ATMP and although not armoured they are extremely mobile, have excellent performance, easy to maintain, low cost and can be carried internally in a Merlin.
In order to provide coastal mobility for the Vikings a landing craft capable of carrying two would extend their usefulness.
One of those new fangled PASCAT craft would just fit the bill.
Number 5 – Improved Littoral Protection and Patrol
Like layers of an onion, the littoral or coastline zone is on the way to the centre of gravity and thus will have to be traversed at some point.
5,000 tonne grey war canoes are not the best of choices close in to the coast and so we would need a number of craft that are low signature, small, fast and well-armed.
The ubiquitous Combat Boat 90 for Docksta Varvet is the obvious choice but there are many many others.
Here is a video the Royal Marines made earlier!
Instead of fannying about with manually armed machine guns lets be sensible and incorporate an off the shelf stabilised weapon mount like the Kongsberg Protector
We might also consider buying a couple of Griffon Hoverwork 8100 TD’s which are designed to carry a BVS10 and dispense with the PASCAT.
Finally, whatever small craft or hovercraft is chosen we might consider arming them with Hellfire,
Number 6 – Attack Helicopter
We are climbing the cost ladder bow but a small number of Apache helicopters would provide a potent ISTAR and defensive capability. Despite the recent over water operations highlighting a number of areas for improvement they remain effective both over land and over water, operating from either.
Number 7 – A Pair of A400’s with all the trimmings
Instead of a single VC10 and single Hercules a pair of A400’s would provide a much more resilient and capability pair. Able to operate in the long range maritime patrol, logistics and in -flight refuelling roles additional roles might include airborne communications relay or even gunships with appropriate weapons.
Number 8 – A Pair of SIMSS
Giving my own concept a plug here, read all about it below
Number 9 – Brimstone and Paveway IV
As Typhoon matures in RAF service it will gain clearance for a greater range of weapons including Paveway IV and Brimstone, very useful. Meteor when it comes into service and maybe even an air launched anti-ship missile although the latter would be highly speculative.
This final one is an acknowledgement that there are experts out there who have been defending sparsely populated coastline and littoral areas against covert and overt incursions for decades, it might not be an altogether bad idea to have a chat with them to pick their brains!
Over to you, although lets not be having any of these;