The Falklands Balance of Power

Janes have reported that the long discussed deal between Argentina and Spain for 16 Mirage F1M fighters is on hold and instead, alternatives being sought.

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://www.janes.com/article/32019/argentine-mirage-f1-buy-reportedly-stalls”]

One of the alternatives is 18 IAI Kfir Block 60’s

Kfir C10 a Block 60 - Kariéra izraelské stíhačky pokračuje

The Kfir Block 60 is an interesting aircraft, despite the original being quite old IAI have filled it full of modern upgraded equipment.

Have a read of the data sheet below

And the marketing video

There are many ‘if’s’ to resolve but how much would 18 fully supported Kfir Block 60’s equipped with Derby BVR missiles alter the military balance over those islands down South?

Read more;

Defense Update on the Block 60

Wikipedia

IAI Kfir Upgrades

 

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Rocket Banana
January 4, 2014 7:00 pm

Do we have Aster/SAMP-T or similar?

By “similar” I mean something better than Rapier.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 7:13 pm

@ Simon
No, we did not participate in that. CAMM(L) will replace Rapier.

Derek
Derek
January 4, 2014 7:19 pm

So some 1960s or 50s airframes, albeit with some modern avionics, but not too modern and limited by the volume within the fuselage. Also with relatively poor endurance. Formed into one squadron and unlikely to able to generate any serious capability, even if they are procured, before 2017 when CVF+ F-35B will only be a year away. In the meantime there are still a flight of Typhoon’s on the Islands that I am sure would enjoy the sport.

So how do they change the “balance of power”: they don’t.

Even if they did Argentina lacks the means with which to take advantage of such a power shift as it’s navy is a joke and it’s army is pathetic.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 7:35 pm

You look at the intel and “honour the threat”.

This will involve looking at training cycles, exercises conducted, AAR capability demonstrated. Weapon systems purchased and trialed. Political intentions etc.
Despite Dereks post, these are being sold by the Israelis and they know their way around a fighter jet. they will not be selling rubbish.
Obviously an Argentinian manned KFIR block 60 is not going to be a match for an RA F Typhoon with Meteor, over twice the range to begin with and almost certain to detect and fire first but it will be a capability upgrade.
any required response should only be made after a full evaluation and assessment of just how much of an upgrade it is.

TED
TED
January 4, 2014 7:42 pm

Well this threads going to take off isn’t it! If, if they buy these and they are the best thing since sliced bread would we just put another 4 typhoons down there. They have decommissioned 2 fleets whilst typhoon has been down there. How much life will their skyhawks have left?

How long does it take to get a flight of 4 typhoon down there by air refueling?

Euan Stewart
Euan Stewart
January 4, 2014 7:45 pm

It’s interesting although not concerning, albeit if the Argentine Government funds the proposed acquisition of 6 KC-390’s from Brazil then we might have something to be slightly more concerned about.

Nicky
Nicky
January 4, 2014 8:34 pm

Argentinia’s only hope is to make a great deal with Pakistan to buy and co produce the JF-17. The other would be to buy from China on the JF-10 or with Russia on the Mig-29, SU-27 or SU-30. I guess spain got wif of what Argentina wants to do with the Mirage F-1’s.

dave haine
dave haine
January 4, 2014 8:44 pm

@Ted
16hrs at 450kts… AAR, would be for preference a Tristar KC1 as they can take the ground handling equipment and extra ground crew as well (cargo door, see). Before the C17, the RAF regularly changed over the Tornado F3 flight this way.

TED
TED
January 4, 2014 9:30 pm

@dave haine ok so in all probability a day at least before we could get 4+ typhoon down there. If only A400 was allowed to refuel :(

Could 4 typhoon hold out for a day? I think yes. My thinking is the RAF clearly think so at the moment. Will it stay the same…

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 9:35 pm

@TED

Why would you wait to be attacked to reinforce in nay of the environments?

The Argentines are a such a massive low ebb that any attempt to rebuild a proper capability will have have a huge number of combat indicators.
From equipment purchases to training to political rhetoric, we would have to redefine incompetence to be caught out again.

dave haine
dave haine
January 4, 2014 9:58 pm

@ Ted
Yes, 24hrs and the air element of the FIADGE, would be reinforced.

But to wait until operations have begun, is too late…you run the risk of an interdiction operation taking out the typhoons or the support a/c at a critical flight phase.

As APATS says there would be plenty of indicators that would trigger a reinforcement… And it would use Globemaster, Voyager, and chartered aircraft, and more likely we’d have enough time for sealift.

Dan
Dan
January 4, 2014 10:00 pm

@All Politicians are all the same;

“we would have to redefine incompetence to be caught out again.”

Ok, so better not rule it out then.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 10:04 pm

@ Dan

Not even sure we could miss them buying a host of new aircraft, several Ships including an Amphib capability. Then embarking in a major series of exercises to learn how to use them because that is what they would need to do.

Where as we could if we really had to in 3 or 4 days fly in more Infantry and weapons as well as another 4 or 8 Typhoon.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 4, 2014 10:13 pm

I don’t think a purchase of these jets changes anything. Carlos Fandango doesn’t have the troops or amphibians or Navy to do a 1982 again.

(Apart from which, 4 Kevins in Typhoons should be able to see off 16 of these. If not, I want my taxes back).

The only threat is realistically some Argentine SF taking out some critical pieces of infrastructure, which I’m pretty sure they could do if they put their minds to it. But why, is a different matter.

I don’t follow argentine politics, but I suspect this is more probably aimed at irritating the Chileans.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 10:41 pm

@RT

Or to try and seek some parity with Chile who have over 30 reasonably modern F16s compared to no Argentinian equivalents.

Fedakin
January 4, 2014 10:53 pm

To be honest there is little Argentine special forces could do to the Islands defences beyond being a minor irritant. They would be noticed long before they got to MPA and I presume the radar sites, Stanley, FIPASs and Mare Harbour are well patrolled.

The garrison and FIDF also have the benefit of superior mobility over any small special forces deployment considering they have access to helicopters.

The FIDF are fairly tooled up in their own right these days and know the terrain far better:

Fedakin
January 4, 2014 10:59 pm

Actually this video of somebody driving from Stanley to MPA rather neatly shows the problem for anybody trying to approach MPA discretely!

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
January 4, 2014 11:14 pm

Whilst agreeing that the conventional Military threat from the Argentine appears vanishingly small, I am hoping that HMG/FIG are having serious discussions about securing the EEZ if the oil begins to flow…mischief in that area (by “patriotic volunteers” no doubt!) seems to me not just plausible but actually likely…I wonder if those three unexpected OPVs might come out ice-strengthened? Battleship grey with a broad dark blue stripe carrying that distinctive crest of theirs would be nice…

More generally, one of the alphabet soup mentioned a runway at South Georgia in connexion with light footprint mining (likely to be piloted in Greenland sometime soon), and although I have no idea about the details I am convinced that gently but systematically laying down markers in respect of our South Atlantic Rocks/EEZs and our slice of the Antarctic might be no bad thing. Let’s follow up our recent investment in Halley VI with a bit more extra revenue to do a bit more useful scientific work…

GNB

Observer
Observer
January 4, 2014 11:17 pm

Despite the Argentinian rhetoric, kicking off Falklands 2 is probably the stupidest thing they could do. I won’t put it beyond the possibility that there isn’t a chance that they can’t overwhelm the Typhoon squadron there. Apparently, no matter how good the pilot, 3v1 simultaneously is the top cap on the odds a pilot can handle, so there IS a chance of being overrun, but then what? Show that they never changed their spots? That they have a tendency of using violence to solve their problems? Hold a land on the arse end of nowhere of a supply chain? With a sullen resentful population who will passively detest their authority and can only be deported which will go down really well in the international media? Whose resource value is questionable and marginal?

No, it doesn’t really change the situation much. It’s still a staring match down there.

RT and APATS are right, the fighter upgrading program is probably more a ward against Chile than anyone else. And to annoy the Chileans.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 11:28 pm

@Observer

think the 3 to 1 is for WVR, not certain the Argentinians would want to pit a 1970s totally non stealthy air frame against Typhoons with better trained Pilots which are theoretically capable of each carrying 10 Meteor BVR missiles with more than double the range of their potential derby missiles.

A combination of being seen first and shot down before you even close to engagement range must be an off putting experience.

Rocket Banana
January 4, 2014 11:37 pm

Got to ask some RAF pilots…

Does chaff work?

The way people go on about BVR on this site is making me think that somehow a there’s a new law of physics that’s come into being (probably the sub-ether) that allows EM emissions to see through clouds of debris that causes massive back-scattering.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 4, 2014 11:40 pm

@GNB,

We seem to return to this topic every 6 months. Last time around( or the time before that) I suggested that to bolster the UK’s position, we should pre-emptively establish on the FI some British hosted but international research / university establishment aimed at Eco resources / global warming / marine life and monitoring or whatever seems likely to attract several hundred academics from 50 countries. Have out stations on South Georgia and the Sandwiches.

I’ve often thought that apart from the consent of the islanders, we have only 2 things going for us. The first is the approval of the international community. The second the ability to reinforce rapidly through MPA. Lose the first, and we are on a sticky wicket, lose the second and we are entirely out of the game.

The first is safeguarded politically, the second militarily. I don’t think the Argentines would be so stupid again as to attack without securing international ambivalence, so the more we can be viewed internationally with approval for our responsible stewardship, the better.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 11:47 pm

@ Simon

Chaff, you mean soft kill? Do not tell X.

Remember that the engagement ranges of BVR air to air missiles are still relatively low. The firing aircraft already had the target by radar and with something like Meteor can provide updates by data link in flight. So decoy and chaff become far more difficult as you are trying to break a lock either by the firing unit or by the missile after firing.

Compare this to a long range active anti ship missile which often has no updates in flight (no capability to receive or targettting unit chased off) it is not active upon firing and is therefore much easier to decoy or distract.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 4, 2014 11:47 pm

@ Simon

Chaff, you mean soft kill? Do not tell X.

Remember that the engagement ranges of BVR air to air missiles are still relatively low. The firing aircraft already had the target by radar and with something like Meteor can provide updates by data link in flight. So decoy and chaff become far more difficult as you are trying to break a lock either by the firing unit or by the missile after firing.

Compare this to a long range active anti ship missile which often has no updates in flight (no capability to receive or targettting unit chased off) it is not active upon firing and is therefore much easier to decoy or distract.

Observer
Observer
January 4, 2014 11:49 pm

APATS, think they actually do stand a chance, but after that, then what? They’re still stuck with a mess. The deterrence of the Falklands was always the whole of the UK’s armed forces, not just a detachment down south, and internationally, it would be a case of egg on the face. Their lack of amphib I can see being partially solved by STUFT and nationalizing civilian assets, though the training for a beach landing would be a dead giveaway as to their intentions. And having a destroyer parked on their line of approach would be an interesting experience for them.

Personally, I think their chances are “once in a blue moon” instead of “snowball’s chance in hell”, but hope for the best, plan for the worst. And even in the worst, the UK’s chances are actually rather good.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
January 5, 2014 12:03 am

@RT – Since we agree, it’s clearly the right thing to do…which one of us gets to tell DfID to write the cheque and start the ball rolling?

GNB

mike
mike
January 5, 2014 12:12 am

@ Simon

In ’82 Chaff saved a fair few SHAR and Gr3 pilots lives. Lets not forget how it also spoofed Exocet and also spoofed Argentine long range radar/B707 radar into getting a clear ‘picture’ of the fleet.

It works, though there are ways radar operators can work around it. Chaff is a small part of an aircrafts’ (and ships) EW suite.

Mirage F1-M or Kifir, it changes nothing, their MPA aircraft are more a concern than their FJ.

x
x
January 5, 2014 1:06 am

@ Simon

That APATS puts so much faith in “clouds of glitter” should tell you all need to know about the modern Royal Navy……….

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
January 5, 2014 1:07 am

Operation Typhoon Tempest Trail took four days to get four Typhoons down to the Falklands due in part to weather issues and required a total of 10 support aircraft to get the four jets down safely. Clearly in an emergency they could get there more quickly but it would still take more then a day with 7 air to air refuelling required for each fighter + the risk of an air to air engagement on the way south so the Argies would have more then enough time to do what they need to do before extra Typhoons became a factor. Once Mount Pleasant is out of action we have no way of reinforcing the islands quickly.

There are only four Typhoons on the island and they do not have a 100% serviceability rate and normally only two are on QRA. They would normally only carry perhaps 6 air to air missiles on normal QRA duty although they can fly with more.

The RAF has no AEW aircraft in the Falklands so it would mean that Argie aircraft launched in a surprise attack would only be spotted as they came within range of the radars on the top of the mountains in the islands, not enough time for the RAF to do more then launch the QRA. That would mean that two Typhoons with perhaps 12 missiles would be faced with 18 aircraft with perhaps 72 missiles (assuming four missiles per ac) + what ever other jets the Argies still have.

RAF pilots are good but they are not that good and we know Argie pilots are aggressive (& have been trained by USAF officers who have been flying with them). Neither airforce has pilots with current air to air combat experience and Israeli Derby and Python missiles are comparable to the RAF’s Asraam and Amraam although the RAF will have a useful missile range advantage (even more so when Meteor arrives later this decade).

The Kfir 60 is an old airframe but the Israeli’s aircraft electronics & missile industry is first class and the Colombian Kfirs apparently performed very well at Red Flag in the USA. They will be equipped with an AESA radar which the RAF do not yet have so they will be very hi-tech despite the old airframe and engine technology.

It took the Israelis three years to supply 24 upgraded Kfirs to Colombia so the Argies could be flying Kfirs in a similar time period and they have only just retired their IAI Nesher aircraft which is a sister aircraft to the Kfir.

A lot of the comment above assumes that we will get some advance warning of an attack but what if we don’t ? Countries have been surprised before i.e. 911, North Korea invading South Korea, Israel in 1973 etc and how many reconnaissance satellites do we have over the South Atlantic?

It might be sensible for us to double the number of Typhoons and further harden Mount Pleasant airfield (the aircraft shelters are not very impressive) if the deal goes ahead and the Argies buy advanced AAM and AGM missiles. If we were really serious we would do what the Singaporeans have just done which is buy land based Aster 30 missiles to protect the airfield and replace Rapier with CAMM (L) to give the Typhoons an umbrella under which to operate.

Just because the Argies are in a mess right now does not mean that they cannot embarrass us again as they almost did in 1982.

as
as
January 5, 2014 1:21 am

‘The lion roars but does not inspire fear any more’: Argentina shrugs off British military threats to make fresh claim to the Falklands

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2533338/Argentina-shrugs-British-military-threats-make-fresh-claim-Falklands.html

Hector Timerman is very funny.
How did this lot get elected?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 1:28 am

@X

Stop being such a prat,. There is a 13 month course which amongst other things explains exactly how effective “clouds of glitter” . Off board active decoys, hard kill of various types and the manner in which the should be incorporated.

There is actually a page for each threat and ship specific responses to each threat, incorporating hard and soft kill measures.

The difference is that I have actually seen it as has SR and others. You know why, it is because we actually fucking serve and are cleared to see this stuff. Yet you see fit to mock, not offer an opinion or frame a question, you mock!

I will tell you about the modern RN. I appreciate soft kill and hard kill. I have op toured in Afghanistan and Iraq and in Yemen. Yes with a rifle or in the latter case a pistol and SMG. I know how to use all of them as well as my Shipboard systems.

You used to amuse me but now you are beginning to offend me.

@ andrew wood

Read my post about assessing and honouring the threat. You make the assumption we would not change our posture at all whilst Argentina purchased, equipped and trained on these new aircraft.

The Colombian kfirs only flew air Interdiction missions at Red Flag whilst the Typhoons mixed it with the F22 and not always to a bad result.
If you were going to buy aster 30 in its land based variant you would not need a less capable CAMM(L). Yo

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
January 5, 2014 1:28 am

@Andrew Wood – can’t help feeling that building up that kind of capability from the current low base would take an absolute minimum of several months, with every purchase of FJ/Weapons Systems and every training sortie overlooked by MI6 and overheard by GCHQ…more than enough time to get MPA heavily reinforced and position relevant Naval assets.

More worrying longer term (in my view) were their discussions with the Chinese about economic co-operation and arms purchases…the Argentine as a satellite state of the New Han Overseas Economic Empire would give us a headache…but fortunately, not only us…

GNB

as
as
January 5, 2014 1:31 am

Why does the UK give £2m in aid to Argentina? Revelation comes as South Americans launch yet another diatribe on the Falklands

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2533591/Why-does-UK-2m-aid-Argentina-Revelation-comes-South-Americans-launch-diatribe-Falklands.html

Argentine government issues five-page rant about UK ‘colonial occupation’ But official figures show the country receives £2m in direct aid from Britain. UK also contributes £7m to £50m EU aid fund for Argentina, a G20 country.

What are they spending all that money on?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 5, 2014 1:44 am

For those supposing that the Fandangos might actually spring a nasty surprise on the Kevins in the FI.

What then? They have presumably shot down 4 RAF jets, bombed the crap out of MPA. So what? Unless they back it up, it’s nothing. And they don’t seem to have anything to back it up with.

What they’d have done is to massively piss off a UNSC P5 member, initiated a conflict with no vinegar stroke, and not prevented retribution.

Personally, my preferred retribution is about 30 TLAMs into various military and symbolic targets

x
x
January 5, 2014 1:50 am

@ APATS

Actually I realised a month or so back that I had said all I could say or want to say here.

What IXION said in his last post here rang more than a few bells with me.

I shall withdraw from the forum.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 1:55 am

@X

Why?

You used to have a lot of positive ideas , humorous anecdotes and strategic thoughts.

Yet recently you have come across as a 1970s armchair Admiral and insisted upon picking arguments over tactical and technical details that you (no offense) cannot possibly fully understand or know about.
Or you have just been genuinely offensive.

why?

SomewhatRemoved
SomewhatRemoved
January 5, 2014 2:16 am

I echo what APATS has said! Really x, is it that bad? This used to be good banter, now it’s just rude.

RT, outstations on South Georgia and the SSI? Really? For what possible gain? A research base already exists through BAS, but the focus is conservation and fisheries which isn’t enough to form a decent international research community. Surely you are not suggesting the UK be the first to start militarising the Antarctic?

martin
Editor
January 5, 2014 3:34 am

we are all assuming that the argentines I’ll be able to find $500 million to buy these aircraft then actually find the funds to run them. big assumption given their current economic state.

Even if they do. I still think they are light years away from posing a credible threat. even last time we had enough warning from SIGNIT and had forces on the beach waiting for their assault. Now with weapons like javelin even a small detachment of infantry could decimate a landing force.

Do we have javelin on the FI ? I don’t know but neither will the argies. Once CAMM (l) replaces rapier they islands will be even more secure.

There is also always the frigate down their that they would have to take out as well.

martin
Editor
January 5, 2014 3:38 am

@ Simon

with meteor as with ASRAAM the missile takes an image of the aircraft it’s attacking so its not just following the biggest radar return. So to successfully defeat Meteor it will take more than chaff but active measures. I just can’t see the argentines being able to field anything like that any time soon.

M&S
M&S
January 5, 2014 4:03 am

First off this-

>
The message read; “An Argentine invasion fleet will be off Cape Pembroke at the first light tomorrow. It is highly likely they will invade. You are to make the appropriate dispositions.” The Government in London had been receiving reports from intelligence sources that Argentine naval forces conducted exercises at sea between 23 and 28 March, which included a joint anti-submarine operation with the Uruguayan Navy in the River Plate estuary. Later reports showed that the fleet had sailed south from the main Argentine naval base at Puerto Belgrano on 28 March with marines, soldiers and live ammunition on board. On 29 March it was known to be some 900 miles north of Port Stanley, and consisted of an aircraft carrier, four destroyers and an amphibious landing ship.
>

http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/TheArgentineInvasion-2ndApril1982.cfm

Would not be repeated.

Argentina would not use airpower to destroy the MPA fighter component. Nor would they deliver a seaborne invasion force. They would use sea launched missiles, either from submarines or from fishing vessels or light commercial craft. ALAS or a similar FOG-M would be my choice but Klub-M is another option if they can afford it. As such, there would be no hope of avoiding surprise because OpSec would be much more heavily secured, all practice missions occurring deep in the interior, away from any compromised chain of command at local bases.

The Argentines would then bring in the Buzo Tactico, just like they did in 1982, and just like in 1982, they would use a combination of gas, frag and phosphorous to try and slaughter the British while they slept though they might forget Government House and dual cover Mt. Pleasant or Stanley instead-

>
At 0430 hrs the OP on Sapper Hill detected helicopters near Mullet Creek. 120 of the Argentine Special Forces, the Buzo Tactico, had landed to the south-west of Stanley, near Port Harriet. The Buzo Tactico moved up behind Sapper Hill and divided into two parties. One moved towards the hills behind Stanley overlooking Government House, and the other towards Moody Brook Barracks to the west of Stanely.

Around 0610 hrs the first firing was heard as the Buzo Tactico attacked the barracks at Moody Brook. The attack was ferocious, combining submachine guns with fragmentation and phosphorous grenades, hoping to catch the Marines in bed, showing that later claims of attempts to spare British lives were completely false. If the barracks had not been already deserted, many men would likely have died. With the buildings at Moody Brook ablaze, the Argentine troops moved on toward Stanley.
>

http://www.raf.mod.uk/history/TheArgentineInvasion-2ndApril1982.cfm

Likelihood of surprise would thus be much more assured and excepting forces in the field doing patrol work or support missions for the settlements, there would probably be a terrible slaughter of RMs.

With the RAF air sovereignty mission a flaming ruin after having /so thoughtfully/ provided a -second- airfield for them to run in on, the rest of a new 10-20,000 man occupational force would arrive by air using the nationalized airlines.

And that would likely be all she wrote from a military standpoint, unless you were sure you could rely on the French or U.S. /populations/ to feel sufficient ‘international umbrage’ to allow their Carrier forces to be used to save a British colonial asset when the ethnic dominance of that part of the world was not reflected in the identities of the few British expats on the island.

Sans FOG-M/SLCM, from a purely OCA/DCA condition, the fight would be much harder, largely because of fuel issues and depend on the ability to defeat radar tracking until the last moment. CANA/FAA losses would be heavy but the Argentines still have 33 A-4AR which is not their granddaddy’s A-4B/C-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Argentina_Air_Force_McDonnell_Douglas_A-4AR_Fightinghawk_Lofting-2.jpg

Having both radar and ALASCA capable AAMs, they are competent dogfighters below 15,000ft and the Typhoons would not have the means to overfloor them because it would be impossible to know which were fighter configured and which were A2G intended for Pleasant.

Which means that 4 jets would be facing considerable numeric disparity and, just as happened in 1982, when the 2 late Mirages came charging after their 4 A-4C escortees and the RN SHARs ran like scalded cats, the RAF will take what shots they can and then be broomed off their own airfield with the hope of returning to rearm and win the attrition fight.

If they ignored the low flights (as they would have to if there was a shelf stacked second division at altitude coming on hard behind, after expending their BVR fit) they would likely find most of the base infrastructure gone, upon their return. Though Rapier 2000 is not a bad weapon, it’s firing rate and total shot count simply would not support fending off a saturation raid with only a few key targets necessary to ground the Typhoons.

Specifically, the A-4AR would likely be using Mavericks and LGB which would quickly put paid to the alert barn and weapons igloos at Mt. Pleasant and similar ordnance would make life untenable for any followon, inshore, amphib anchorage. No more fuze problems.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mount_Pleasant_Airport_-_Donald_Morrison.jpg

In a reaction to a lost Falklands condition, TF Whatever would need to resecure the airspace over the FI which would mean cutting off rather than permissively allowing continued air support from the mainland. Sea Viper as Aster-15/30 is very good compared to Sea Dart here but the RN has yet to show the balls to stand-forward a missile trap sufficiently dense as to kill tankers and aircraft in blue water transit and if they ‘conservatively’ failed to do so, the distance between the mountain outlets and San Carlos Water would be such that a conventional amphibious landing would be heavily challenged by AGM firing threats where the winter weather is actually quite supportive of B-model Mavericks in particular.

If the Argentines go to Russia for the Klub, even the Aster would not be enough to bring landing ships inshore as again, the -single- MM.38 of ‘garbage truck fame’ showed what surprise from zero warning can do to a full up Type 42 AAW destroyer-

>
Glamorgan was steaming at about 20 knots (37 km/h) some 18 nautical miles (33 km) off shore. The first attempt to fire a missile failed. A second attempt was successful and a missile was launched, but it failed to find the target. The third attempt was more successful. The incoming Exocet missile was being tracked on both the bridge and operations room radar by the Principal Warfare Officer and Navigation Officer.[13]

Before the missile impact, the ship was moving at high speed. After the ship executed a rapid turn away from the missile in the limited time available, a few seconds, the Exocet struck the port side adjacent to the hangar near the stern. The turn had prevented the missile from striking the ship’s side perpendicularly and penetrating; instead it hit the deck coaming at an angle, near the port Seacat launcher, skidded on the deck, and exploded. This made a 10 ft by 15 ft hole in the hangar deck and a 5 ft by 4 ft hole in the galley area below, where a fire started.[13]

The blast travelled forwards and down, and the missile body, still travelling forwards, penetrated the hangar door, causing a fully fuelled and armed Wessex helicopter to explode and start a severe fire in the hangar. Fourteen crew members were killed and more wounded. The ship was under way again with all fires extinguished by 10:00.[
>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Glamorgan_(D19)

Ocean would have to stay well out to sea.

Small actions with leapfrogging Merlins to deploy special forces from inshore fast-steaming Destroyer/Frigates/Subs would be an alternate option but not one which would be pretty as the changes in surveillance technologies and light vehicle systems would make even an occupational garrison force quite capable of challenging predictable ‘from the sea’ raiders using highground and UGS while the RN would not be able to support them through the morning especially as, again, it was the Argentines not the RN that had radar dominance of the local littorals in 1982 (GPS Harpoon would mean these Klub-cuers would have to move about though).

Even if the SOF could evade engagement on lands which make the Scottish heath look positively wooly, destruction of military or civilian infrastructure to keep the Argies miserable would rapidly lead to hostage taking and executions which is why the SAS/SBS were not used more aggressively in 1982.

If there is a single game changer here, it is in the RN ability to fire Tomahawk from her SSNs. The problem is that targeting would not be easy as the missiles which the RN has are not equipped with datalink, holding orbit and marking camera options. They are pure strike.

This might be something the U.S. could ‘fix’, on the sly, but in general, the U.S. public is done with expeditionary battling, even for allies who helped us in SWA. As long as you had men like Obama in office, you would not be able to rely on political spine to overcome popular sentiment.

Properly equipped, the Argentines could easily take the FI and likely the cheapest cost for denying that capture any permanency would be one of generating a maritime exclusion zone and enforcing a starvation blockade. A small force of Submarines (using Tomahawk/Commandos to attack inshore airbases) and an AAW heavy SAG being more than sufficient to put paid to Argentine resupply though again you would suffer civilian depredations such that the slaughter of sheep to prevent their feeding to the occupiers would be necessary to hasten matters along.

I would also not recommend setting up a ‘university campus’ of any kind on the FI unless you want to fight for oil. Because that is the only thing that -is- worth fighting another major campaign down there and if present, you can be sure some egghead or another, ‘purely for scientific reasons’ would discover it via a geological survey. Because Britain is shy of cash and her corporate interests control her civil government, just as they do here.

If there is one real hope for this to continue to remain at loggerheaded standoff it is that Argentina does not look to her Mercosur partners with positive trade agreements and a policy of alliance building while Cristina Kirchner’s regime comes to an end amidst growing economic downturns.

So long as the Obama administration insists the problem is bilateral and not OAS related, Argentina is stuck with being a small voice in a big South American community for which her economic stability is not sufficient to be ‘commanding’ efforts to have her interests in the islands be heard. Argenitina is a colonial power so her efforts to get UN resolution support behind anti-colonialism is bunk and indeed, the history of abandonment by Argentina before British arrival creates more of a constraint of occupation of terra incognita than Imperial intrusion.

When these hypocrises change and she can successfully bring the weight of Brazil and Chile into the forum, the Argentines will have the MI in less than a decade, by purely economic means. Despite British diplomacy and business investments, she simply doesn’t have the trading weight needed to hold them.

bigdave243
bigdave243
January 5, 2014 4:55 am

Sweet jesus that idiot M&S is back …….. Mister I like the sound of my own typing is back. Bore off!!!!

Observer
Observer
January 5, 2014 5:25 am

bigd, relax, he’s not worth getting your blood pressure up. Lot of what he wrote is utter nonsense of course.

Fishing vessels firing medium ranged anti-air missiles (wonder if anything will be left of the ship after the missile fires), no invasion just a pinprick poke and run off without holding the ground,etc. Lots of crap info hidden in tech jargon bombardment and wish list fantasies. Why not say “Everyone’s SA-80s will suddenly malfunction and blow up in their hands, killing all British military personnel outside of the UK in 2 seconds.”?

M&S, stop dreaming.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 5, 2014 8:43 am

TD,

That “auto-scroll to the bottom” little icon that you didn’t promise us for Christmas? It’s becoming a site necessity….

Topman
Topman
January 5, 2014 9:08 am

I suspect this is more cost than capability related. Looking at the state of the AAF they have grounded/put up for sale/scrapped pretty much all their Mirage (or related) FJ. That tells me they are very short of funds. This Isreali deal is double the Spanish one. Personally I think it unlikely they can afford it either.
As to threat I think RT covered. Even if they manage to overwhelm 1435 Flt and the Rapier sites that doesn’t really get them much closer to taking the FI. They need to put men physically on the ground as far as I can see they are totally unable at the moment of achieving that.

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
January 5, 2014 9:13 am

@ Gloomy Northern Boy

We have been here before in the late 90’s when the Argies bought 36 re-built A-4AR Skyhawks, old airframes with new radars and other avionics (like the Kfir-60), the Skyhawk’s were in effect equivalent to sub-sonic 1st gen F-16’s and were equipped with AIM-9L Sidewinders.
We made no change (as far as I am aware) in the defences of the Falklands islands during this period as we still deployed only four Tornado F3’s with no other changes in defence.
So I suspect that even if the Argies bought Kfir 60’s we would make no change. I suspect that the British defence budget will continue to be under pressure in the next Parliament whereas the Argies have started spending more after decades of under-investment.

What really worries me is not so much the possibility of an Argie attack which I think is very low but of the British becoming over-confident. When you become over-confident you start to make mistakes as the Israeli’s did in 1973 and we did in 1982.

@ All Politicians are the Same

You would deploy Aster 30 and CAMM (L) together for the same reason that the RN has Aster 15 & 30 and the Singaporeans have bought Rafael Spyder ground to air missiles as well as Aster 30. One is a fixed site long range air defence missile with a minimum engagement range of about 3km I believe, the other is a more mobile, shorter range defence system. The two complement each other.

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
January 5, 2014 9:33 am

@ Topman

You ask what the Argies could do if they had destroyed the Typhoons at Mount Pleasant (or damaged the runway)

Falklands are defended by two infantry companies (one regular, one FIDF) perhaps 200-300 trained infantry + other support personnel some with basic infantry skills. With no runway it would take weeks to send reinforcements to the islands.

Argies have 4th Airborne Brigade + 601 Air Assault Regiment + Grupo de Operaciones Especiales – so perhaps several thousand well trained air mobile troops who are an all professional force who have received training abroad. Plus a capable Marine Corps and the Agrupación de Buzos Tácticos.

The Argies are upgrading five Hercules transports to operate until 2040 + will receive 6 KC-390 transports later this decade, so they have the ability to air drop at least a battalion of paratroopers in one go.

Two infantry companies versus a brigade + of highly motivated Argentine troops ! The British Army is better then the Argie army but they are not super soldiers.

Will the Argies invade?, it is very unlikely but if they decided to do it they might have the capability to do it if they continue to reverse there historical under-investment and we continue to cut our armed services.

Chris
Chris
January 5, 2014 9:35 am

x – The fascination with this site is that the views submitted in the comments are wildly diverse – some have User perspectives, some bring international views (a few with notable bias but that’s easy enough to spot), some offer the civil service view, some describe how industry sees it, and some are here to offer interesting and interested observations from outside the defence circus. Raw nerves will be hit; tempers may fray. But it would be a dull dull dull site if only one authorised viewpoint were put.

Its your choice whether to continue commenting or not, but I for one would be sorry to see you go.

Topman
Topman
January 5, 2014 9:40 am

I’m sure they have on paper. In practice a different matter.

Rocket Banana
January 5, 2014 9:49 am

x,

Could your final post please be a link to IXION’s comment – I’m very intrigued.

Other than that. Farewell.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 5, 2014 10:03 am

For all sorts of reasons, I think the Argues would not and could not seize the islands again. Stupid. They don’t have the international support, nor the military power projection capability with conventional forces (is not one of their ships on it’s side in a harbour?).

But if you were Commandante Carlos Fandango charged with achieving the crazy by some batshit President?

I think I’d tell her to do whatever politicking necessary to ensure the Brits were not all geared up and reinforced, and think about the single point of failure of the British position, which to my eyes is the ability to use MPA. Note USE not own. Take MPA as a functioning airfield and the game changes. Deny MPA as a runway and the game equally changes. If nothing can take off from MPA, the Garrison is probably screwed, and certainly won’t be able to affect events elsewhere.

So, SF would be my initial instinct. And you can train them away from British eyes deep in the Andes, and you can land them from fishing boats, or have them conduct individual recces while carrying a Paraguayan passport and pretending to be a businessman.

Phil
January 5, 2014 10:05 am

@x

Nostalgia moment, it has been some time since you last left.

Speak soon when you feel better.

Dan
Dan
January 5, 2014 10:15 am

So we have a debate about what if Argentina buy Kfir, which they have not yet agreed to do and it is already being suggested that at least part of the reason for not buying the second hand Spanish Mirage is the Argies can not affoard them! and the Kfir are even more expensive. We then have to get them delivered, and Argentina trained to use them, up thread it quotes Israel Colombia Kfir deal as 3 years from contract to IOC, so even if we assume a contract soon we are looking 2017 for INITIAL capability. It will take longer to provide a realistic ability to aggressively take on 4 Typhoons and destroy MPA runway.

It seems perfectly reasonable for Argentina to be replacing their old Mirage when as well as UK replacing SHAR with Tornado and then with Typhoon, Chile has introduced F-16, and Brazil has finally made its mind up for its replacement and is putting in Gripen. Argentina is left with Vietnam era A-4 though they have had pretty much everything but the airframe replaced, with new engines and electronics but realistically how much longer are they viable?

You have to plan for worst case scenario, and while people have talked about the ability to reinforce in a few days but the cost of a long term commitment becoming 8 or 12 is significantly more expensive. The argentine sensible position would be to increase the level of tension gradually till each higher level of operations is seen as normal and not warranting a response, a sudden increase in tension could easily lead to a reinforcement of 4-8 planes, but how long do they stay, and then Argentina does it again, and it seems like the islands are crying wolf and at some point we just accept their higher op tempo and do not reinforce and the next time it is real.

TED
TED
January 5, 2014 10:27 am

@M&S you and that Fing garbage truck!

@others I don;t suggest we would just sit about whilst they bought loads of stuff and then wait for them to attack before doing anything.

What is the cheapest or most efficient way of dealing with this IF it is a perceived threat? You could base a T45 on the islands instead of an OPV. But that could be quite expensive and as we only have 6 may leave us short elsewhere. Perhaps a squadron of typhoon instead of a flight could cover it. Or using ground based missile systems as others have suggested.

wf
wf
January 5, 2014 10:43 am

: I know I’m Red Teaming things again, but as @RT says, MPA is the key and it’s defence or denial hangs by a rope rather than multiple steel cables. The Argentinians have elected Peronist governments multiple times, headed by people that specialize in batshit crazy policies, and one of them is President now. Above all, we are rather complacent.

@APATS: good to hear about the ROE. Robust enough to sink a merchant ship approaching the islands I wonder? Or shoot down a civilian airliner approaching MPA which doesn’t respond to ATC? I rather doubt next time we’ll see a “military” approach.

Phil
January 5, 2014 10:57 am

MPA is the key and it’s defence or denial hangs by a rope rather than multiple steel cables.

Yet I doubt it does. Taking out an airfield is very hard to do. It is even harder to do with complete surprise over seas when you have a Navy whose ships sink when they are alongside (I believe that’s the term).

What we have down there is the minimum – a garrison of a thousand or so men and women and a fully functioning air base is the d-day – 1,000 force. All this talk of surprise attacks and SF strikes is Tom Clancy (RIP). There’s not going to be a 24 hour warning of an impending brigade sized amphibious assault, neither is there going to be an air strike out of the blue that somehow permanently craters MPA runway at the same time as conducting a 100% successful SEAD strike (there appears to be two runways anyway).

Anything above 12 hours warning puts the garrison on a much higher alert, 24 hours and there’s going to be some reinforcements, 72 and we’re already talking serious preparations and if we go to a week or a month then things get silly for the Argentines.

Alex
Alex
January 5, 2014 11:27 am

The Argentine government and military are in such a state that it is highly unlikely they could maintain 18 high-maintenance fighters. It is worth remembering that only last year the Argentine Government had to hire an IL-76 from a Anglo-Australian owned company to resupply an Argentine scientific station in Antarctica as none of the Argentine Air Force transport aircraft were in a fit state to do the job.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 11:32 am

You should never underestimate the enemy but neither should you overestimate his capabilities (unless you work in the US military industrial complex and want to sell something). Do not mistake complacency for a realistic assessment.

“good to hear about the ROE. Robust enough to sink a merchant ship approaching the islands I wonder?”

It is hard to explain if you have not been there but the FI and surrounding areas are not exactly the English Channel. There are not dozens of MVs cruising past that could just divert. It would be very obvious that it was not meant to be there very quickly. You then have the issue of where it could offload, if it is any size at all it could only offload at ECMP or if a bit smaller maybe Stanley. ROE is definitely robust enough to stop it and search or divert it and yes disable it if it refuses and continues.

“Or shoot down a civilian airliner approaching MPA which doesn’t respond to ATC?”

Again Stanley is not Heathrow, it used to have 1 scheduled flight a week(LAN Chile from Santiago). Even when that landed the base went on alert and the aircraft was covered whilst passengers disembarked. So an unscheduled emergency is going to be escorted in and have quite a lot of weapons pointed at it whilst it offloads.
Now someone earlier mentioned Jedi Knights and that would be what is required to disembark an airliner under HMG fire, kill the covering force then assault and take the base.

My very first post on this subject said you must continue to assess and honour the threat. We honour the current threat.

M&S
M&S
January 5, 2014 11:45 am

@Observer,

Weren’t you the guy who said he couldn’t be bothered responding to me anymore?

Never mind, you do look a bit of a prat with this-

>>
Fishing vessels firing medium ranged anti-air missiles (wonder if anything will be left of the ship after the missile fires), no invasion just a pinprick poke and run off without holding the ground,etc. Lots of crap info hidden in tech jargon bombardment and wish list fantasies. Why not say “Everyone’s SA-80s will suddenly malfunction and blow up in their hands, killing all British military personnel outside of the UK in 2 seconds.”?
>>

In response to this-

>>>
Argentina would not use airpower to destroy the MPA fighter component. Nor would they deliver a seaborne invasion force. They would use sea launched missiles, either from submarines or from fishing vessels or light commercial craft. ALAS or a similar FOG-M would be my choice but Klub-M is another option if they can afford it. As such, there would be no hope of avoiding surprise because OpSec would be much more heavily secured, all practice missions occurring deep in the interior, away from any compromised chain of command at local bases.
>>>

FOG-M = Fiber Optic Guided Missile. ALAS is the Serbian version. EADS makes the Polyphem, one of Israel’s Spike variants is FO optioned and there is also a Brazilian FOG-MPM on offer I believe.

Such weapons can be quite capable with up to a 100km reach and as I’m sure you know, the Falklands are not large.

Indeed, as the photo I included of MPA shows, the single large (thick roof = ‘bomb proof’) alert facility which is at the center of the complex would be quite vulnerable to these _surface to surface_ missiles blowing in the front door. You can literally fly the second through the hole made by the first because they are that accurate.

As for jammed SLRs (no SA80 back then ol’ chap), the RAF’s own commentary shows that the Royal Marines were told to scatter before a superior force could trap and butcher them and upon doing so, they escaped their own sleeping murder only to find you can’t sustain a viable combat force in the field when said environment is a barren a rock like the FI and you have foolishly not planned for a covert cache system or even FOB to hide out in while the occupation settles down before making a viable guerilla war nuisance of yourselves.

Surrender thus meant the same as death in terms of sustaining a viable resistance and observation force on the FI and so the British lost valuable tactical insight for more than a month, even if they avoided the need for vengeance for the annihilation of their garrison.

Argentina would also be aware of where here own intelligence leaks came from that cued the British flush by now and would act accordingly to deny their furtherance by limiting the number of people who could actively compromise any invasion.

Inverse Rule and all.

ALAS is sized to a 2 ton truck and Klub to a standardized shipping container. Either of which could be fitted on a medium sized commercial vessel without ‘splinterage’, the former could go even smaller to a charter fishing craft.

We deal with this reality daily here in the U.S. where CMD and shortrange, depressed trajectory, BMD are considered higher priorities than LAHAD now, largely because they would be launched from outside our national sovereignty VBSS line and so could be initiated without detection in any timely fashion sufficient to alert the limited intercept options we have.

At the back of beyond end of things, has Britain applied similar logic to her single point vulnerability on MPA?

One is none. Two is one.

President Cristina de Kirchner, like her husband before her, is sitting atop a sinking regime ship with an almost fanatical desire to reclaim the Malvinas as her desired historical legacy achievement. While Argentina’s military and economic position is not quite as bad as it was in 1982, the political situation -is- similar as she would even more like a third term as president. Seeking that added term and suppressing the ‘screamer’ rallies over Argentina’s increasingly desperate economic situation would be something she would find much easier atop a wave of Latin nationalism as indeed every Argentine, when asked in recent surveys, has said the islands /should/ be theirs, even if they have no clue what for and even beyond more jobs as economic relief from the tide of rising poverty that sweeps their country.

The man-in-street Argentine remains fixated upon expanding ‘what’s ours is ours and what’s your’s is ours too!’ macho nationalism. Largely because they know it won’t cost them anything, personally.

Since a small purchase of 10-20 SSMs could be hidden in multiple front companies and since the RAF has no means to -reach- the FI if there is not a runway waiting for them, the invasion itself could be fait de accompli if the Argentines wanted it bad enough.

The question then becomes whether you want to try your hand at winning another attrition war which no one in Britain will want to pay for. Making mistakes in the hopes that Argentina makes more, with no Seabased Airpower or a CABS type converti-bomber to back up the loss of MPA and hence no guarantee of air support over the battlefield (sending the SSNs home for more Tomahawk reloads would be laughable, even if ‘home’ was only Ascension or St. Helena…).

Or if you would go for the cheaper but longer route of starving out the Argentines at the same rate you killed your own citizens thus making recovery an exercise in hypocrisy.

Or if you would take the cheapest route of all. Which is to walk away and try not to cry as you relocated 3,000 Englishmen from the South Atlantic.

Next to losing without contest, the Si vis pacem, para bellum argument thus becomes still the cheaper option.

As I recall, you forgot that in 1982 as well, when you sold off your last cutter and didn’t think the Argies would notice, yet when asked why they started matters this was an explicit element in their excuses.

“You didn’t defend them so we didn’t think you would mind losing them!”

Derp.

You don’t argue with an expansionist nationalist mindset. You just defend against their blockheadedness by not providing any opportunity of weakness which their predatory nature might perceive as being immediately exploitable. They don’t think beyond that.

John Hartley
John Hartley
January 5, 2014 11:48 am

Ok Argentina is in no position to mount a 1982 style full scale invasion of the Falklands, but lets not be smug, as they could still mount some pinprick operation aimed at causing “spectacular” embarrassment to the UK.

Phil
January 5, 2014 11:50 am

Even when that landed the base went on alert and the aircraft was covered whilst passengers disembarked.

You mean the garrison isn’t busy reading grot mags and pushing over penguins leaving a Dads Army style defence? That there is something approaching a sense of alert and precaution? And you mean the headsheds have considered some of the more Tom Clancy scenarios rather than drink port and crawl up one anothers arses? It’s almost like there’s a garrison down there which has had nothing to do for thirty years expect think about and plan for how the Argies might have a crack.

This will be news to the FI doomsayers.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 12:04 pm

@ M &S

“Argentina would not use airpower to destroy the MPA fighter component. Nor would they deliver a seaborne invasion force. They would use sea launched missiles, either from submarines or from fishing vessels or light commercial craft. ALAS or a similar FOG-M would be my choice but Klub-M is another option if they can afford it. As such, there would be no hope of avoiding surprise because OpSec would be much more heavily secured, all practice missions occurring deep in the interior, away from any compromised chain of command at local bases.”

Of course we would miss them buying these missiles. Their subs can barely deploy safely. We miss any conversions and they manage to train a seas op deep in the interior. We miss the new FVs as the ones there know each other and we miss the strange MV in an area of virtually zero traffic.

We are dealing with a country that cannot put their Submarines to sea submerged. Allow a Destroyer to sink alongside. Cannot afford to replace munitions on their only proper surface combatants so they life expired and can barely patrol their EEZ.

Yet you think they could mount the sort of Op you haver about.

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
January 5, 2014 12:18 pm

I think I could pull off a covert ALAS style SSM launch from a fishing vessel (in fair weather!), and I can barely wire a plug and kayak. SF with GPS guided 122 rockets (now being made in Indonesia among other places) would be hard to counter too. I really do think M&S raises some valid points.

Phil
January 5, 2014 12:26 pm

So what if they could? Since when has getting shot at been considered a defeat? Are we made of paper now? They could drop wunderwaffe on the FIs for months – military structures and organisations are far more resilient than many civilians give credit for.

They’ve got to “come at us bro” otherwise it’s just getting shot at.

Observer
Observer
January 5, 2014 12:31 pm

@Andrew Woods

One of the main reasons for the Spyder/DERBY and SAMP-T/Astor double line is also the cross use by services. The Python/DERBY is also used by the air force as an AIM and the Astor is used by the Navy as a SAM. Cross pooling. Logistics. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

Technically, the replacements are more of a “like for like” replacement rather than a range calculated dome overlap though there would be some overlap as a defence gap is rather worrying. The SAMP-T are replacements for the old Bloodhounds which I’m sure you guys in the UK are familiar with, while the SPYDER is a replacement for the old Rapiers.

As for the Islands that Should Not Be Mentioned, RT may be right that SF might be the best bet for a spoiling raid. Won’t target them on the runways though. You got 4 planes, 4 block charges would do an interesting job on them, with the added advantage of not being so easy to repair. It takes 30 min to fill a runway crater though the cement would still be a bit wet under the surface. It’ll take hours if not days if you simply blew off even the nose wheel of a Typhoon, much less tossing a grenade into the engine.

But after that, then what? No invasion force = no holding of the area = no sovereignty and with the FIDF running around, you need at least 2, preferably 3 companies to hunt them down (1:3 ratio). How are you going to get them over?

You see doom and gloom on the UK side, but from the Argentinian side, the view is really much gloomier. Gloomy Southern Boy has more to cry about than Gloomy Northern Boy. :)

On a side note, I’m rather familiar with the Spike. It’s good, but not the wunderweapon people rhapsodize about. MR version is about 3km range only. NLOS version is truck/APC mounted and too big to manpack.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 5, 2014 12:48 pm

I’m with APATS and some others in my assessment of their conventional capabilities.

But I am also suspicious by nature, and it doesn’t hurt the Argentines to be seen as being spastically poor and inefficient. I am also well-versed in being surprised when Latin concepts of pride result in surprising decisions (try being married to one: sleep with both eyes open if you fail to notice some small detail).

I also would do the Argentines the honour of acknowledging that they have equally sharp minds as we do, and so 30 years of thinking about things.

100 Argentine SF could make a reinforcement impossible, and despite allowing a destroyer to sink alongside, I think Argentina has the capability to get them ashore by a variety of means if they really wanted to. Their only job being to stop MPA being used to launch aircraft, receive aircraft, or the garrison being able to deploy outside the perimeter.

After that, even if the Argentines can land unopposed only 100 infantrymen a day using rubber boats from rented ferries, they are on a winner until the first Astute arrives. 3 weeks?

The Argentines big mistake in 82 was not reinforcing adequately. If they get 10,000 troops anywhere on the islands we’ve got nothing we can do.

All of that said, there is first of all a big political decision to be made, and I don’t think they will. But experience of Latinas tells me that sense sometimes does not come into it.

Mark
Mark
January 5, 2014 12:55 pm

The Falklands is what 350nm from Argentina in a straight line so any fastjet aircraft they have will be operating at there max range in any operation config (against a foe us that isn’t and one that has significantly better aircraft) provided they go straight there and back (no dog legs or round about flight paths). That will give them next to no time to manoeuvre or search for targets or they will simply run out of fuel before they get home. We have early warning radars at height and will see them coming at some distance out. Anything they do will have to be done within 20hrs because after that point additional personnel infantry/sf will be arriving, the 3 to 1 requirement to dislodge a well defended and equipment position means they need lots of people.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 1:03 pm

@RT

I was with you until you said “by various means” and then make a “reinforcement impossible” . 100 strangers with sufficient weaponry transported 400 miles across waters that are patrolled and hardly busy and landed on Islands that offer virtually no cover at all. where everyone knows everyone else and the locals are hostile as hell. Where there are daily flights by helos and the C130 and the Typhoons and often the cab from the FF/DD and the Islander flights.
Then again with sufficient weaponry suppress a huge complex with 1000 armed personnel in it and have to worry about the FIDF who are not on MPA and are well trained have good local knowledge and are mobile.
also have to worry about ECMP as the FF/DD can decide to land quite a lot of 4.5 HE bricks on top of your position.
None of this solves the issue of protecting any Ferries with what is actually a very poor conventional capability. all the time not knowing when an SSN may arrive (13 days from the Uk) but maybe less depending where it is.
Of course we could reinforce by parachute :)

This sort of scenario is war gamed frequently. Desperation may drive them to it but plans are in place in case they do.

SomewhatRemoved
SomewhatRemoved
January 5, 2014 1:05 pm

The Argies big mistake in 82 was invading. If they’d waited 2 years, we’d have formally handed them the islands.

Allan
Allan
January 5, 2014 1:15 pm

“(try being married to one: sleep with both eyes open if you fail to notice some small detail).”

@RT,

You could say the same about Geordie girls too……hellfire…they’ve got a temper…..

Dan
Dan
January 5, 2014 1:18 pm

@Red. Trousers, I think you are taking the sensible approach, it is highly unlikely but they equally have had 30 years to think up what could we do if the politicians told us to. The IRA managed to blow up a Political Part conference and almost kill the PM and most of the cabinet and then launch a mortar at Downing Street. Could a nation the size of Argentina get a few special forces on to the islands and do something to embarrass us of course. Could they with a high chance of success, put the airfield out of action for long enough for a significant force of Argentines to land on the islands now that is very risky from their point of view.

If you try and succeed you are assuming we are now so weak we do not respond as was the wrong assumption 30 years ago, that is not realistic any party labour or Tory is faced with the weight of History of Maggie fought and won! you sent our boys to die in Iraq and Afghanistan and attacked Libya but will not react to this, so there would be a response.

However even if the SF raid fails the assumption is the UK does nothing but negotiate and return the Argentine troops. Well why, we have just been attacked by a sovereign nation our right to respond is legitimate. In 1982 attacking the mainland was off the agenda for a variety of reasons but partly capability, trident is capable but a non starter for other reasons, Vulcan from Ascension was theoretically possible but realistically a lot of effort for a pinprick. 2014 how many Tommahawks does an Astute carry, and how much of the Argentine navy has not yet sunk by the dockside, how many viable airbases does the Argentine Air Force have?

Aquasubz
Aquasubz
January 5, 2014 1:21 pm
Phil
January 5, 2014 1:26 pm

Nobody is arguing that we shouldn’t treat the Argies seriously. But there has to be a degree of measure.

They have effectively no navy, effectively no air force and an Army which is therefore stranded.

Despite that we keep a garrison of a thousand down there with stores, 4x modern fighters and we tie up a very sorely needed FF/DD. We do all that when there is no immediate, credible threat to the existence of the FI as a British territory.

Mark
Mark
January 5, 2014 1:34 pm

Not to mention a c130j a Tristar , 2 seaking, a patrol vessel, a rfa tanker an ice patrol ship and a twice weekly airtanker flight. And until afghan went mental a chinook.

Observer
Observer
January 5, 2014 1:39 pm

@SomewhatRemoved

That was my take on the issue as well. Decolonialisation was well and truly underway by ’82, if they were patient and dropped even a few hints like “Don’t worry, even if the UK dropped you in the next wave of decolonialization, we’re still your friends. Oh sorry, they didn’t warn you of the possibility?” “In this time of budget cuts, why is the UK parliament supporting spending to nowhere’sville?” there was a very high chance of developing a hinterland relationship with Argentina and given time, something more. Which they blew with their invasion. It was really a classic case of shooting themselves in the foot. In 82, they had a chance. Now? Snowball’s chance in hell for the Islanders to accept them. The military odds are still better at “once in a blue moon”.

Conquest is one thing. Acceptance is another entirely different issue.

Aquasubz
Aquasubz
January 5, 2014 1:42 pm

I would have thought that given the looming energy supply problems here and elsewhere and the fact that there IS (not the easiest however) exploitable oil down there, that there WILL be production operations and infrastructure offshore in the next ten years.

Will that ramp up the political pressure in an impoverished basket case like Argentina? Probably.

Is RT right about leaders of instable countries acting irrationally. Of course.

Is there a worrying threat therefore right at this exact minute. Probably not.

As cac-handed as defence planning usually is however, I think we’ll see the the QE class providing an expeditionary threat to any Argentinian sabre rattling at the time it may matter, which luckily for us, has been delayed because of the difficulties of the exploration.

As the oil production will happen however should we be planning now to have greater permanently based defence resources to allow and safeguard that exploitation. Of course.

Which is why Phil, we do eed a proper fully deployable 3cdo expeditionary amphibious brigade as well, supported by light armour like a patria or SuperAv. In the same way as 16aab has an attached cavalry arm is there any reason why one of the cavalry regs couldn’t specialise in amphibious armoured support? Rmasg not counting.

Should the FI be ultimately funding this as soon as it can though from oil taxes. Yes!

What should a beefed up standing all arms FI presence look like in order to allow commerce to do what it needs to and ultimately keep the oil and money flowing?

Az
Az
January 5, 2014 1:43 pm

The potential acquisition of Kfirs is interesting, but nonetheless alters little. As many have noted, there is little real threat to the Falklands in the short to medium term. The only realistic threat to the balance of power would come during an actual conflict (one unlikely to happen in the next decade or so). During the Falklands War, our great allies the French (no sarcasm intended) provided us with information on the weapons and aircraft used by the Argentines. The Israelis may be less likely to do that.

I agree with on the DD/FF front. Perhaps a battery of land-based AShMs (NSM, RBS-15 or old faithful Harpoon) would be sufficient for a bit of A2/AD to try and hold off any hypothetical Argentine attack.

Az
Az
January 5, 2014 1:44 pm

The potential acquisition of Kfirs is interesting, but nonetheless alters little. As many have noted, there is little real threat to the Falklands in the short to medium term. The only realistic threat to the balance of power would come during an actual conflict (one unlikely to happen in the next decade or so). During the Falklands War, our great allies the French (no sarcasm intended) provided us with information on the weapons and aircraft used by the Argentines. The Israelis may be less likely to do that.

I agree with on the DD/FF front. Perhaps a battery of land-based AShMs (NSM, RBS-15 or old faithful Harpoon) would be sufficient for a bit of A2/AD to try and hold off any hypothetical Argentine attack until reinforcements could arrive by sea.

Phil
January 5, 2014 1:45 pm

Which is why Phil, we do eed a proper fully deployable 3cdo expeditionary amphibious brigade as well,

3 Commando is just as deployable now as it was in 1982 – more so probably without enhancing it furthe at the cost of other capabilities. Not to mention there’s a couple of ports down there and three runways.

M&S
M&S
January 5, 2014 1:50 pm

@APATS,

Yes actually, I do believe that the Argentines could sink and replace or rendition a fishing or merchant vessel crew and get close enough to kill you because those lanes are actually fairly active and because it only has to work once. The ocean being a wide place and all, it’s not necessarily certain that all vessels would see each other or even bother to call if they did. Since most of those ships are based on the mainland, I might just hostage the crews’ families and then what do you do? Same hulls, same voices on the radio, nobody does nothin’ with their woman and kids and maybe a 100 grand under the table at stake.

Success would be further enabled because the operation would not be something that required delicacy or sophistication of simultaneous missions so much as shock and rapid onset of fires in a relatively loose win: commit, lose: deny sequence against relatively few total targets.

Kill Typhoon and Rapier and you don’t own the FI skies beyond MANPADS.

There would be _no_ redundant solutions as fallback for area defense across some 4,700nm of islands which means that if you have a four-helo MV over the local radar horizon, it doesn’t matter whether you see the helos themselves inbound from it because your reaction is going to be late and limited.

Indeed, the Argentines gain synergy with small things that don’t all have to work together because, in combination with commando forces STOMing on RW or light craft and major infantry forces on 2hr notification to board chartered or nationalized commercial airframes out of garrison, the total standup to go window is very training narrow for what is still basically an occupational force.

Certainly Klub-M and ALAS are largely about simulation more than active fires competency. They cost to much to be otherwise.

Once the missiles take down the AD, if a small number of FMC-from-canbird strike aircraft went ahead of the air assault forces, you could well see commando + CAS leading to a direct delivery of forces which puts the burden of runway denial on a 12,000ft strip _on you_. All with one pulse of CAS.

Could you hold a static target under attack by competent special forces when perhaps 20% of your 1,000 man standing force were even basic infantry level competent?

You couldn’t in 1982 when the RMs _failed utterly_ to hold against a much smaller BT force. Scattering to the winds and giving the island away for free.

Of course if you want an even better example, we can go back to Crete where the Brits certainly held Maleme and Herraklion /so well/ against numerically inferior Germans with the RN just offshore.

Or one can look at a more recent British ‘roll over and think of England’ moment in Iraq when attempting to hold their own sovereign vessels against Pasdaran hill billies in speed boats _within sight_ of Allied reinforcements.

Tommy is not as he once was in Victoria’s day.

The biggest difference being that, back when HRM was ruling an Empire, anyone with the gall to try such effrontery would have had their maritime trade gutted for years by a Royal Navy worthy of the name and the British Army housed in their capital’s best whorehouses a month after that.

While back in 1982 you actually saw it coming and still didn’t stop it.

Now, you would not.

Your arrogance of ‘money buys diplomatic insight from certified vendors’ is not solely your own problem of course.

Israel ‘missed’ the Hezbollah preparations for the 2006 Rocket War and the vulnerability of Merkava to constricted lane AAs, losing more men than she tried to rescue in the process. She had the Trophy APS and was too cheap to fit it to her own tanks even though the Merkava had known vulnerabilities that’s had been exploited before. She had the helos and SpecFor but was too cheap to maintain a standing QRA to go get her boys as soon as imbedded transponders in their clothing crossed the tower line of her northern sensor grid.

With this as a given of stupidity on both sides of the deal, would EITHER your people or IMI recognize the significance of SPIKE NLOS sales if the end user certificate stated they were for garrison fire support in the Chilean border region? I mean, /surely/ if 18 Kfir Blk.60 are of no concern, a few SSMs tucked in with the spare change on that order wouldn’t mean much more to the mighty RAF?

ALAS is being courted by various Middle Eastern parties which is the same thing as saying Iran will get them. Iran has successfully reverse engineered the BQM-34 and the Kornet ATGM and so her ability to do the same with a well known (highly proliferated) FOG-M technology base cannot be overlooked. Do you have eyes on the Iranians defense industrial community as well?

What about Russia and China? We can’t keep them from selling assault weapons to Mexican DTOs by the shipfull and they have the CATIA driven automan to RE any weapon they get their hands on which means it’s very hard to trace them back. Do you have penetration of CATIC or ROSBORONEXPORT sufficient to interrupt delivery or will you just send Daniel Craig down to Buenos Aires on his own then?

Did anyone stop the Russians from delivering Iskander and Baal-E to the Syrians? No? James must have been on holiday that week I guess…

Russia cooperated heavily with the Argentines in 1982. Their RORSAT data was a large element (together with ELINT of sloppy British EMCON discipline) in why TF Corporate was always so easily found for both SUE and Skyhawk attack.

With their recent successful intervention in Syria and their shrinking sphere of influence overall, it would be all too easy for them to seek to gain a little free coup count by rolling some Klubs in the back of an AN-124 as a secondary signing bonus to winning that Antarctic support mission.

WHERE those missiles were delivered, to what Indian or Domincan breakers who had a hull ‘go missing’ would then determine whether or not you saw the Penguin repaint to something more likely to be expected in that part of the world. You _do_ remember the Penguin don’t you? The Orion? The Atlantis? Commerce Raiders so slow they couldn’t possibly evade the mighty RN. Yet they did.

Or heck, what about the Lyubov Orlova? With all the Western World’s globally integrated sat tracking, have you located the Russian Ghost Ship yet?

Sleep well, securely wrapped in your certainties sirrah.

dave haine
dave haine
January 5, 2014 2:04 pm

No be fair, let’s answer his points…..

Yes, our bad- all the signs were there but we ignored them…However, the Joint intelligence committee, was reorganised in the aftermath, and MI6 has had somewhat of a budget uplift.

Equally, There are a number of radar units on the Falklands…I feel sure that their positions are optimised to the likely threat. And we have a number of other intelligence assets and arrangements in the South Atlantic. Our intelligence community is full of highly cynical men who just love to work out ways of doing bad stuff- and if we can think it up, you don’t we’d work out how to counter it? Or indeed look for the appropriate indicators?
So, it is unlikely that any testing for such an operation, would go unnnoticed.

In that case, I would think that, under cover of an ‘exercise’ we’d be dispersing off MPA. Not withstanding the re-inforcement for the ‘exercise’. Doesn’t take long for PSP dispersal sites to be built. Or indeed a PSP runway to be built over an existing strip. Typhoon doesn’t need a massive runway for a take-off with full AD load. So It would be really hard to completely degrade MPA as an airfield, let alone the air defence assets

The Royal Navy maintain a destroyer in the South Atlantic- where would that be? And your point about missiles and ships seems to miss the essential:
“The ship was under way again with all fires extinguished by 10:00.”
And as our naval brethren will attest, I’m sure, we’ve learnt a lot about damage control since then.

What chance will fishing boats have against that, the OPV that is permanently on station, and Royal Marine boarding parties, (remember the royal marines used LAW, effectively against the ‘Santa Fe’ and the patrol vessel). Couple of RIBS with Royal Marine teams on, intent on harm. And all this only based one what is based in the south atlantic now. And you’ve disregarded the armed FPV’s that the Falklands government maintain.

So to turn to your other points, the one that really demonstrates your lack of research is the assumption that MPA will be rolled over by a few Buzo Tactico. Err, no. The MPA complex is home to 1200+ military personnel. Ok, some of them will only have basic military field training, but they will be armed and disgruntled.

The military garrison on the islands is somewhat larger than you appear to have realised, despite it being public knowledge, and they are on their own ground, upon which they’ve trained and exercised. And you’ve disregarded the FIDS, only a company, but they seem to be quite fighty, and are well equipped.

So your whole premise, depends on Fernando being able to act with surprise, by using covert naval forces, and without any intervention by based maritime forces, degrade the FIADGE to ineffectiveness, without rendering all the runways unusable….and then getting a force onto the islands, unopposed, or without major losses, in sufficient numbers to overwhelm an integrated defence system, manned by very well-trained and experienced troops who know the ground, and have I’ m sure practised for that eventuality, and indeed would be somewhat ‘miffed’. Can’t imagine the Islanders would be too hospitable either.

Incidentally, Oil has already been discovered, and full production is planned for 2017, as has gas, although there is still work to do to assess its viability.

Various scientific concerns are already using the Falklands and the South Sandwich Islands.

SomewhatRemoved
SomewhatRemoved
January 5, 2014 2:10 pm

Phil,

You’re right – there is no immediate credible threat. However, the ‘garrison’ is only a single infantry company. The rest of that thousand (and it’s more than that, closer to 1500) is all RAF support personnel – for 4 fighters, two helicopters, one Herc and one AAR asset. The FF/DD is not ‘tied up’ but spends the majority of it’s time anywhere other than the Falklands conducting wider regional engagement, mostly to the British Overseas Territories and Western Africa. We don’t sit there aggressively patrolling around the islands, we get on with other stuff. HMS CLYDE does the local patrol and population-engagement piece – that’s her job. That said we do tie up a tanker down there, but she is absolutely necessary for the long ranged patrols to and from the islands that we do and is usually loosely tied to the APT(S) ship anyway wherever she is.

The advantage of the FI for the RN in one respect is that we have both controlled airspace and fast jets, so we get great anti-air practice against the Typhoons on the occasions that we are there, and can also get on with gunnery training without worrying about the airspace reservations (since we can NOTAM at 24hrs notice down there). We also have a direct logistics chain, easing our operations at range considerably and allowing us virtually free-reign of the entire South Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 2:16 pm

‘SR

Do not be mean to the RAF, they are not all RAF support personnel :)

There is the Port and Maritime Troop. The RN Engineering detachment and the JOC and admin staff, the INT cell guys and the Air Defence battery, the MPs, the Transport detachment.

Loads of them get given weapons during purple “helmet” or whatever they call it now.

Phil
January 5, 2014 2:24 pm

Purple Helmet?

Good God I would make my excuses before that exercise!!

@SR

I don’t dispute what you’re saying but I was making a wider point. Whatever the precise disposition the fact remains there is a considerable investment of money, personnel and resources over a peat bog that has no present credible threat to its survival. Any increase in that threat would see an increase in our dispositions which to re-iterate, are considerable considering the Argentines probably don’t have double figure fighter availability and their Navy sinks in port. That’s my point to the people who argue we’re vulnerable. The dispositions are as dynamic as the threat. Which is low.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 2:26 pm

@ Phil

Think it is actually Cape Bayonet or something but it always used to get in the way of training visits to the OPV so we christened it Purple Helmet.

Aquasubz
Aquasubz
January 5, 2014 2:31 pm

Hi Phil, I think that’s the issue with these forums in a way. They seem to be about defending views regardless than developing ideas. The RM may be as deployable as they were in 1982 now, but I wouldn’t hold the amphibious action in 82 up as something we’d want repeat. I know a few welsh guards with plenty to say about lashing amphibious ops together on a shoestring.

The point I was poorly trying to make is that, agreed, the threat level now is managed -honoured-, but we are talking about 10+ years time. When we will have lost Ocean without replacement. And before mentioning it QEC doesn’t allow for landing craft.

For future deployment options i think the BAE LHDs going ahead for the Australians would be worthwhile as it brings obvious world while and multi-situation, (disaster relief etc) utility. Not replacing ocean whilst losing a bay too is scandalous.

Foreign policy and military mistakes are riven with decisions that don’t allow for flexibility for future, as yet unquantified threats or capabilities. Preparing for todays or yesterdays threats. To say anything else is revisionist. That was my point, to try to tease out some views about what may be necessary to protect what will be a strategic commercial interest.

I just think that not just in the FI but all over the world we will require a serious expeditionary capability and threat to maintain our position in light of the very obvious increased competition. And alliances are both made and broken, no alliance lasts forever, even the strongest.

Better to avoid action by the threat of having serious capability and delivering consequence for the transgressor than taking a risk?

TED
TED
January 5, 2014 2:31 pm

@ dave haine

“RM used LAW on Santa Fe”. You could be right but I’m currently reading a book that states that a ‘pinger’ wessex spotted it and dropped two depth charges. From that point on lynx fired torpedos that missed. Every helicopter and his dog fired machine guns at it and Wasps fired anti ship missiles at it.

Anyway I am not defending him. I think he makes some good points but loses it a bit by covering them with Sh*t and deep frying them in P*ss. Its starting to ring of “the bombers will always get through” again.

“Better to avoid action by the threat of having serious capability and delivering consequence for the transgressor than taking a risk?” Couldn’t agree more. Whats more, I think it is our duty to prevent large scale action.

Phil
January 5, 2014 2:40 pm

@Aquasubz

The trouble is capability in one area comes at a cost in others.

I am not advocating drawing down 3 Commando, merely pointing out that we’ve never officially had (since the 60s anyway) a unilateral brigade level amphibious assault capability and building one now would cost us in other areas.

I know a few welsh guards with plenty to say about lashing amphibious ops together on a shoestring.

That’s something of a straw man. Plenty there knew it was not a good idea to stay on board a ship like they ended up doing. If someone had made a different and very simple decision that day then it would not have happened like it did. They weren’t killed because things were lashed together – they were killed because a decision was made to stay on the LSL despite some knowing better than that.

I’m not pushing blame, it was war and lessons are re-learned the hard way and we did very well considering we were messing around with capabilities we hadn’t fully used since 1945.

M&S
M&S
January 5, 2014 2:55 pm

@David Haine,

>>
Equally, There are a number of radar units on the Falklands…
>>

They’ll be Argentine quick enough if you let even 500 men ashore and they aren’t blown in place.

>>
I feel sure that their positions are optimised to the likely threat. And we have a number of other intelligence assets and arrangements in the South Atlantic.
>>

If it’s at all choppy, they won’t see RHIBs until it’s too late, if at all.

If it’s FOG-Ms into the Typhoon alert barns it will be just another floater and then helos coming from over the horizon with the SAR Sea Kings effectively burning torches to light their approach.

>>
Our intelligence community is full of highly cynical men who just love to work out ways of doing bad stuff- and if we can think it up, you don’t we’d work out how to counter it? Or indeed look for the appropriate indicators?

So, it is unlikely that any testing for such an operation, would go unnnoticed.
>>

Look up FOG-M and Klub-M on Youtube, any monkey can press the button. It is intuitive. It is designed to be. When Hezbollah blew up the Marine Barracks, the money men were Iranian and the explosives riggers were Syrian Army. It’s not like outside contractors haven’t been used before.

BT would not be visible because they are designed not to be. They are cross trained to submarine and air insertion and any structures training they would do would be minimalist because their entire purpose is to take and hold PMA or Stanley when and as the British flush to the fields with no support or logistics (/again/).

Get it? The Argies are NOT trying to close PMA! They _want to use it_. RSR indeed.

>>
In that case, I would think that, under cover of an ‘exercise’ we’d be dispersing off MPA. Not withstanding the re-inforcement for the ‘exercise’. Doesn’t take long for PSP dispersal sites to be built. Or indeed a PSP runway to be built over an existing strip. Typhoon doesn’t need a massive runway for a take-off with full AD load. So It would be really hard to completely degrade MPA as an airfield, let alone the air defence assets.
>>

FANTASTIC! Now you are out in the field with the sheep and no logistics. As General Melchett once might have said: “Baaah!”

Have some covert basing away from the civilians and you can watch the occupational force roll in. Start to interfere and the first thing that will happen is that the Argies will suspect the Militia and the second thing will be hostages at every key installation or facility and a wide area patrolling system with air delivered, mechanized forces and you running around on ATVs and rubber boats.

A simple Wolf (German Defender clone) jeep is better than 20 men on foot when it comes with a civilian maritime FLIR stuck on the roof and a SASR gunner or Milan in the back.

http://www.flir.com/cvs/americas/en/maritime/view/?id=49486

Or do you plan on all your Churchillian Hill Fighters being equipped with Thellie suits too?

>>
The Royal Navy maintain a destroyer in the South Atlantic- where would that be? And your point about missiles and ships seems to miss the essential:

“The ship was under way again with all fires extinguished by 10:00.”
And as our naval brethren will attest, I’m sure, we’ve learnt a lot about damage control since then.
>>

What part of ‘never see it coming’ isn’t clear? If the assigned naval vessel isn’t in port, it’s as useful as a carrier not at Pearl on December 7. If it is, it gets sunk.

If it’s on peacetime footing, it doesn’t notice that ONE of the three TD-1700s and Type 209s has been brought up to sailing quality and now has a peri pointed up her wake. Two can play the Belgrano game and the subs are active because BT trains on them. Not much, but enough to deliver a raider force and sink your FF alongside.

>>
What chance will fishing boats have against that, the OPV that is permanently on station, and Royal Marine boarding parties, (remember the royal marines used LAW, effectively against the ‘Santa Fe’ and the patrol vessel). Couple of RIBS with Royal Marine teams on, intent on harm. And all this only based one what is based in the south atlantic now. And you’ve disregarded the armed FPV’s that the Falklands government maintain.
>>

The fishing vessels missile-strip the QRA from you. The followon BT units come from helos on an OTH MV and you now have to fight to -hold- your airfield, for which perhaps 20% of your force is capable. But not special warfare capable. Not gas and longrange sniping or mortar defense capable.

Just as before, the Argies will use gas, frag and phosphor to kill you while you sleep or drive you outdoors into a killing field and _you will not see it coming_ because it doesn’t have to be helos, it can be RHIBS and if it is, they can come early because the radar won’t see the RHIB and along about the time your QRA force dies, they will be coming over the fence for you and your rubbing eyes fellow Airbase Support units.

Now it’s up to you to deny the trained special forces the option to use YOUR fields to bring in reinforcements. Which means you have to put holes in your own runway, while under fire.

At which point, your militia force and airbase security units will not really matter because, by your own admission, they’ve all fled the scene.

>>
So to turn to your other points, the one that really demonstrates your lack of research is the assumption that MPA will be rolled over by a few Buzo Tactico. Err, no. The MPA complex is home to 1200+ military personnel. Ok, some of them will only have basic military field training, but they will be armed and disgruntled.
>>

Read the original post. The only thing that saved the RMs in 1982 was that they ran screaming into the night. By RAF.gov’s own admission.

A few days later, sans caches as hidden vehicle or small boat mobility, they couldn’t avoid the occupation force and got tired of eating grass.

Baaaah!

>>
The military garrison on the islands is somewhat larger than you appear to have realised, despite it being public knowledge, and they are on their own ground, upon which they’ve trained and exercised. And you’ve disregarded the FIDS, only a company, but they seem to be quite fighty, and are well equipped.
>>

And the RMs were what, boy scouts on a Merit Badge outing?

You slaughter them while they sleep. You use local WMD and you back it with short, sharp, actions with integrated supporting fire that volume denies whole buildings which don’t need to be captured so much as /sterilized/.

It’s been done before and covered up. As recently as Iraq.

And then you hold, just long enough for the militia to have their second cuppa as they wonder at the sound of chartered jets ‘not on the weekly schedule’ passing overhead as they come into what is no longer an RAF airfield.

In essence: You Don’t Fight Fair. And so you don’t give time for fear or bravery.

>>
So your whole premise, depends on Fernando being able to act with surprise, by using covert naval forces, and without any intervention by based maritime forces, degrade the FIADGE to ineffectiveness, without rendering all the runways unusable….and then getting a force onto the islands, unopposed, or without major losses, in sufficient numbers to overwhelm an integrated defence system, manned by very well-trained and experienced troops who know the ground, and have I’ m sure practised for that eventuality, and indeed would be somewhat ‘miffed’. Can’t imagine the Islanders would be too hospitable either.
>>

Attitude doesn’t buy you airpower. There are probably fewer than ten point targets to hit to utterly strip the island’s air defenses. You act like cratering runways is a good idea and you refuse to acknowledge that it doesn’t work as long as there are Red Horse units available to do the gravel and quick crete trick with a PSP topper.

OTOH, I don’t want to inhibit those jets, I want to _kill them_ because that’s massively easier to accomplish.

And so long as I do that, the FI is defenseless. Chartered shortfield systems can deliver groups fifty at a time into GG or Pebbles type short strips or 200 at a time on an overload C-130 into Pleasant and you won’t do a thing about it because YOU WON’T KNOW IT’S BEING DONE.

4,700 square miles sir.

>>
Incidentally, Oil has already been discovered, and full production is planned for 2017, as has gas, although there is still work to do to assess its viability.
>>

Oh goodie, now we’ve given them motive /and/ potential backers.

dave haine
dave haine
January 5, 2014 3:04 pm

@ M&S

I suggest you read ‘The Secret War for the Falklands’ by Nigel West. That’ll give you an idea of how we were able to interfere with fernando’s efforts to get hold of the then wonder weapon Exocet.

You are most carefully avoiding a few facts that would break your thesis apart. To wit:

You are underestimating
1. The capabilities of the UK’s intelligence apparatus.
2. The vulnerability of the defences.
3. The willingness of the garrison to contend.

You are overestimating the Argentine ability to conduct a large scale air operation, to the scale that would be able to overwhelm the FIADGE from the air. The SF would be an option but again has a number of risks that would require some very, very lucky breaks.

If fernando had the airfield, I would have a couple of two man teams with manpads at the end of each runway, so that any incoming air fernando a/c would have something nasty up it’s chuff, then piss off, hide up, come back later and the same again….

TBH, Whilst I’m sure the Argentinian military have explored all options, just as our military have explored all options for defending it. I’m not sure that there is the political will for a high risk strategy- All the stuff coming out of the argentine political elite, seems to be about grabbing the moral high ground, and building diplomatic pressure on the UK.

Mind you, Fuehrer Kercher seems to be able to upset people without really trying, and as she becomes more isolated, she could well try more desperate moves, as RT says.

And, I would agree with RT that MPA is the key point for the Falklands, and I suspect, If we’ve worked that out, then so have the garrison.

It would not be a pleasant fight…..for anyone…..

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 5, 2014 3:08 pm

What is the current air to ground capability of the various air platforms on the FI?

All very well having Typhoons down there, but once boots are on the ground, the task is a bit different.

If a force can get line of sight to the taxiway or runway, mortars or ATGW can effectively deny it.

Not saying it is easy, but have a think from the perspective of a defender. One of your helicopters exploded. There are about 100 square kilometres within 4 miles line of sight. You have 150 trained infantrymen, none of whom you want to risk putting into a helicopter in case it explodes like the first one.

SF have successfully hidden on the FI for several weeks. I think that anyone who thinks Argentine SF could not do the same is not giving enough credence to them.

Topman
Topman
January 5, 2014 3:09 pm

@M&S

To keep this constructive, what solutions do you have ?

SomewhatRemoved
SomewhatRemoved
January 5, 2014 3:19 pm

APATS,

You’re being nice to the Riff-RAF? Okay, I forgot the Port Troop (who were very helpful to us) and NEFI (who were downright brilliant). But the rest – never before have I seen such a waste of manpower. I passionately believe that the RAF is the most ineffecient and wasteful organisation I know, incapable of thinking in more than one dimension and has got to start applying some efficiency. The RN is far from perfect, but we could do what they accomplish with less than half that manpower, of that I am convinced. Subsequent rant deleted!

Phil,

I was sort-of agreeing but didn’t want others to think we had a thousand troops there. Simply put, we have only the infantry company – having a bunch of aircraft maintainers with rifles is not a credible deterrent in the same way as an Infantry Company. Problem is that the maintenance of the deterrent capability in the Islands is purely political, despite the fact that over the last 20 years we have drawn down force numbers massively.

Sir Humphrey
January 5, 2014 3:26 pm

My own new years resolution is to avoid discussing on threads like this for the simple reason that no matter how compelling the evidence, how thorough the preparation against likely contingencies and how unlikely the scenario, there are those internet warriors out there who without access to facts, figures and a knowledge of what is really going on, somehow know more than those of us who have spent a large proportion of our careers worrying about these circumstances, and will ignore any suggestion or injection of reality as being more evidence that the UK is worryingly weak against the evil menace of Argentina and its ninja suicide penguin team.

Aquasubz
Aquasubz
January 5, 2014 3:54 pm

@DH, HI, Well Rockhopper say so, but the date has put been put back a year every single year for the last 3 or 4. :)The FOGL merger even mentions 2018 also, but as with all things, they are guaranteed to be late and then even take a while to ramp up, so my uninformed opinion, (from an informed source – a member of my shooting syndicate who does oil exploration as a consultant and is the real deal- when discussing the FOGL merger and prospects for investment, he reckons the industry thinks that the mid 20s will be the point that production is really flowing), is that we should be planning for an FI and surrounding air and water defence for the next decade, now. As I said, luckily QEC will be fully in service and hopefully both fully manned by then so that will be a major deterrent.

, I do get your point and it is the same old funding issue, but I really do think that the future economic and therefore political security of the UK will rely on us maintaining our position by the threat of real expeditionary capability, and having had such a great capability as Ocean, to lose it without replacement when BAE are putting something (maybe even more capable as a LHD), for the convicts, is I think a strategic error.

I knew the WG wanted to get off too, but those mistakes showed that amphib needs to be done properly when done, and I think that while sometimes we don’t learn the lessons of history, sometimes we do, (hence Ocean, Albion, Bulwark, the 3 bays), but then we forget them because time heals, (Oceans decommissioning, losing a Bay), and we quite naturally prefer to dismiss uncomfortable possibilities, convincing ourselves that we have the likely future under control and planned for.

I think a serious amphibious capability is just as required as long range RAF strike – which we still don’t have-. Heavy Armour, which we are reducing. Being able to deploy a full (16)AAB quickly and light role infantry. Nuclear deterrent. All expensive of course :)

While it is a hoary old argument that we all know, but in the realm of fantasy politics rather than fleets, I really would use the DfID budget for an Ocean replacement. Big LHD, perfect for disaster relief, humanitarian crisis, and if any of us believe that we won’t have many more of these in the uncertain future, I think we’d be fairly accused of having a narrow focus. A ship like that gives worldwide, multi-use utility.

Phil
January 5, 2014 4:22 pm

by the threat of real expeditionary capability

But even a full on MEB is not a real expeditionary capability in the sense it is able to accomplish anything of great scale – it lacks mass and persistence (a brigade is not such a big force) which in my mind are the characteristics which constitute a real expeditionary capability.

Just being there with an artificially delineated slice of force is not enough.

A brigade effort in the context of a wider and larger coalition is more useful which is what happened in 2003.

Therefore the coalition context is the more important capability to have.

To drive or be a big player in a coalition so you can align it with your interests means you need to contribute effectively to that coalition across the whole spectrum of its activity.

A brigade sized amphib force is I don’t think the most effective contribution to a coalition capability as it is used so infrequently.

I am not saying that in an ideal world it wouldn’t be a nice thing to showcase but it is lower down the list of priorities than many other things for me.

A more realistic model is a non-complex intervention or small focused intervention that requires more persistence than the ABTF can offer but falling short of an enduring operation or an operation needing heavy forces. (Which is was SDSR envisages).

We’ve seen several of those operations in Africa in just the last couple of years.

We’ve seen one unilateral UK amphibious operation of brigade strength since 1945.

Phil
January 5, 2014 4:29 pm

I knew the WG wanted to get off too, but those mistakes showed that amphib needs to be done properly when done,

It shows the knowledge was there, but it wasn’t acted on. That has nothing to do with amphibious capability, it was down to general inexperience of conducting any amphibious operation under enemy air attack. The vessel landing them was fit for purpose, the decision to stay on board tragically turned out not to be. It could have been HMS Fearless or Intrepid landing a Marine Commando – there would have been the same outcome had they come to the same conclusion to stay on board.

dave haine
dave haine
January 5, 2014 4:29 pm

@SR

I wouldn’t go there if I were you- I live near RNAS Yeovilton, I still find it funny that at whatever the time, day or night there’ll be a team of people running about on the sports pitches, and one Lynx folded up on the ramp. Unless it’s dark, in which case the lynx will be in the hanger.

However, The RAF isn’t just maintaining aeroplanes in the FI, it also runs all the Air Traffic Services, terminal and enroute, the ADGE, aircraft operations, airfield operations, including the passenger terminal, a movements squadron and maintains a VASF (Visiting Aircraft Servicing Flight). I dare say there are rock-apes down there too, baring their arses at mess do’s.
(for your info- handling and landing fees for the civvie flights part pay for airfield ops, the VASF and the movements sqn. And I understand FIG contributes to the cost of air traffic services and the passenger Terminal)

Don’t forget FIDF- Another company then.

@ RT
Absolutely….What is really needed is another landing ground- doesn’t have to be a full airfield, even an austere strip would do. Because if I was attacking the Falklands, my first punt in would be to take MPA, either by air or snurgling, and knacker Stanley. Or the other way about it doesn’t matter. As long as there’s 3000″ foot of runway, somewhere on the Islands.

I would also like to see a flight of Apache down there…handy because they have less need of runways and would be a creditable threat to ground forces.

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
January 5, 2014 4:44 pm

@ Sir Humphrey

You are right it would be easy to overestimate Argentine capabilities which are very low and under-estimate British defences but I worry about the following;

1. Wars are usually started by people who are irrational and the Argies continue to be irrational i.e. faking there inflation statistics, and they still want the islands even if only as a symbol
2. The British usually start wars underestimating their opponents and losing the first battles
3. The primary purpose of the garrison at Mount Pleasant is political, its role is to deter an invasion by saying to the Argies that our position is too strong to be threatened. Therefore the garrison strength has to be credible to the Argies and after decades of under investment there are signs that they are once again investing in their military (Argentina is estimated to have the 3rd largest shale gas reserves in the world) and we have been cutting budgets recently.
4. 19 guys armed with box cutters and a budget of around a quarter of a million US dollars changed the world on 911

So my worry is not the Argentines who economically, politically and militarily are very weak but British over confidence and lack of attention to what the Argies are doing. If the Argies do deploy Kfir-60 aircraft and make other planned investments in transport aircraft then we should reconsider the defences of Mount Pleasant whose size has barely changed in more then twenty years (although the main aircraft has improved) even if only to maintain the political credibility of the garrison.

wf
wf
January 5, 2014 4:53 pm

@dave haine: I would disagree with you about the need for another landing ground. Port Stanley airfield is 3000 ft and would do for an emergency C17/Typhoon strip anyway. The trouble with adding a third strip is that in order to not be a liability, the airstrip has to be defended, and I don’t think we have enough down south to defend MPA right now, let alone another strip. The FIDF can defend Stanley.

dave haine
dave haine
January 5, 2014 4:58 pm

@ Aquasubz
Thanks for that- having no real knowledge of the oil exploration business, I could only go on what is publicly declared, so your info is very welcome. As you say it does ease the problem to the right a bit.
I think we need to look at the economic development of the whole territory, which would drive the defence requirement. Particularly as the Falklands Government have said they want to contribute more to their defence.

@ Sir Humphrey
Aahh, the voice of reason….I wish I could be so resolute.

@ Phil, Aquasubz
Have you read ‘Amphibious Assault Falklands’ by Micheal Clapp and Ewen Southby-Tailyour? Clapp was the Commander Falklands Amphibious Task Group. Certainly makes interesting reading, he covered that unfortunate incident, and a lot of the history running up to it.

TED
TED
January 5, 2014 5:01 pm

@dave haine
+1 for the flight of apache, actually a very sound idea. What I would also like is a flight of puma/merlin/chinook/other.

wf
wf
January 5, 2014 5:02 pm

: I disagree with you about Sir Galahad. The likes of Southby-Tailyour were telling 1WG to get off the ship ASAP, but since they were under 5 Brigade, they were not under “amphibious” command, and escalations would have to go up via Division and back down again. I submit that we probably need a sustainment brigade that exercises with 3 Commando once a year, just to ensure there is a cadre of Army officers and SNCO’s who have some experience of amphibious operations.

John Hartley
John Hartley
January 5, 2014 5:03 pm

Does anyone know if the Kfir can launch the Delilah cruise missile?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 5:04 pm

@ Andrew Wood

Yes and as I have said since the beginning of this thread we must continually evaluate the threat. We must also be careful not to be seen to be the ones that are escalating the military position.

Aside from M&S with his fantasy FVs Rhibs and Helos operating from somewhere and use of local WMDs to massacre people in their bed whilst RM run away screaming into the night . The main line of vulnerability would appear to be the insertion of SF to deny the use of reinforcement via MPA and then some form of rapid force insertion to the Islands.

As RT points out UK SF operated on the Islands in 1982, they did however have multiple insertion options including highly trained SSNs, the cover of a conflict and the crucial fact that the local populace were all on their side.

The Argentinian SSK force is as far a I am aware virtually non serviceable with almost zero submerged training being managed over the last 18 months or so. Their surface Fleet is run down to the point where they can hardly patrol their EEZ and a covert airborne insertion would be challenging to say the least.

That leaves yachts, FVs etc and given the Patrols and sparsity of traffic it is not easy but it is the threat so you look at as such. Now you can take precautions that do not seem overtly militaristic and indeed could be done on the QT.
Things like covert “web cams” with IR capabilities on some of the more secluded beaches. Similiar in obvious “hides” overlooking the targets at MPA. Hey maybe we have asked our SF where given certain weapons and missions they would launch attacks from? Then you could fit motion detectors and other cameras to cover them. Maybe zero in some mortars or something or if I was a really dirty git put in a few command detonation explosives? We have certainly learnt enough about being on the receiving end of IEDS etc.
Also some UAV capability, does not have to be a Predator with Hellfire but something simple decent altitude and endurance with good optics both day and night.
Those sort of preps address the most likely(however unlikely that is) threat whilst do not appear to be a major escalation in military posture.

WiseApe
January 5, 2014 5:08 pm

Sir H is right to draw our attention to the threat posed by suicide penguins – four bird strikes and you’re air force is gone! Yes I know penguins can’t fly, but they are the right shape to fit into mortars. :D

Perhaps we should further showcase our international beneficence by gifting some tranche 1 Typhoons to Chile?

Phil
January 5, 2014 5:15 pm

I disagree with you about Sir Galahad. The likes of Southby-Tailyour were telling 1WG to get off the ship ASAP, but since they were under 5 Brigade, they were not under “amphibious” command, and escalations would have to go up via Division and back down again.

They were never intended to be though. 5 Bde was pieced together from the rump of itself and a couple of infantry units which the Queen could spare.

As I understood it (and I admit it’s been some time since I looked into it) there were some local chaps saying 1WG should have got off there and then at the time. That said I don’t know where the decision lied, surely I would have hoped with the senior unit Officer on the LSL.

Certainly I agree people should be cross-posted to spread experience and knowledge.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 5:15 pm

@ Wise Ape

Chile operates about 40 reasonably modern F16 variants with AMRAAM/Sidewinder/Python/Derby. They could shoot down any other airforce in South America in a few days. The exception being Venezuela depending how well trained their SU30 pilots are.

Phil
January 5, 2014 5:17 pm

Have you read ‘Amphibious Assault Falklands’ by Micheal Clapp and Ewen Southby-Tailyour? Clapp was the Commander Falklands Amphibious Task Group. Certainly makes interesting reading, he covered that unfortunate incident, and a lot of the history running up to it.

No I haven’t I’ll see if I can pick it up cheap. Have read quite widely on the conflict and had a lecture in Uni from Julian Thomspon, (have also read you know whose book!) but not that one. Although I do know who EST was (is? Still kicking?).

WiseApe
January 5, 2014 5:23 pm

A view from one of the locals. You may need your google translator:

http://interdefensamilitar.com/?p=8257

@APATS – Thanks for the info re: Chile’s air force.

Taking the islands is one thing, holding onto them quite another.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
January 5, 2014 5:24 pm

“Perhaps we should further showcase our international beneficence by gifting some tranche 1 Typhoons to Chile?”

That would be the british way. ;)

wf
wf
January 5, 2014 5:25 pm

. Brigadier Thompson said specifically he was asked if he could handle another 2-3 infantry bn’s past the three commando’s and the 2 para’s, and he said no, hence 5 Bde.

Southby-Tailyour stated that he specifically implored a senior WG officer to move 1WG off the ships, but he refused. Who this was is kept grey, but we can guess.

Cross-posting is not a substitute for exercises. Those cross posted are unlikely to be those whom actually do the commanding: exercises ensure the *commanders* gain the experience.

Mark
Mark
January 5, 2014 5:36 pm

Don’t need apaches. A flight of wildcat if we really had to increase anything. Failing that a couple of watchkeepers maybe let the RA practise there flying skills with not much to bump into.

Phil
January 5, 2014 5:38 pm

Cross-posting is not a substitute for exercises. Those cross posted are unlikely to be those whom actually do the commanding: exercises ensure the *commanders* gain the experience.

Semantics really, what I mean was I agree with the concept of spreading expertise, knowledge and experience. Obviously within reason.

So as I said, Galahad was caused not by a lack of experience (it was there and vocal) but because persons did not defer to that experience and make decisions accordingly.

We’re getting close to angels on pins but if 1WG had listened to experience they’d not have been so badly hurt. 1WG was never likely to have any experience of amphibious operations because it was SO far removed from their normal existence. As ever wider concerns dictated who went south. Deference to experience could have compensated for that – deference did not occur. And as I say, not attacking the decision makers – shit happens in war.

SomewhatRemoved
SomewhatRemoved
January 5, 2014 5:43 pm

Dave, I’m refraining from expressing my thoughts on those ‘extra duties’ otherwise I will rant and type for hours. Air traffic control on an island with 6 military fixed wing, two rotary wing, two civilian rotary wing and two civilian fixed wing, plus one civilian flight a week, is hardly challenging.

And I will go there, thanks. Comparing Yeovilton to MPA is more than a little silly. One is a training base, the other is operational with fundamentally different roles. What do you think they do at Yeovilton, maintain a 24-hr QRA Lynx flight? Compare Yeovilton to Waddington, Leuchars, Odiham, Benson, Scampton, Marham or any of the many, many others, then see how bad Yeovilton is.

Aquasubz
Aquasubz
January 5, 2014 6:32 pm

@SirH
“My own new years resolution is to avoid discussing on threads like this for the simple reason that no matter how compelling the evidence, how thorough the preparation against likely contingencies and how unlikely the scenario, there are those internet warriors out there who without access to facts, figures and a knowledge of what is really going on, somehow know more than those of us who have spent a large proportion of our careers worrying about these circumstances, and will ignore any suggestion or injection of reality as being more evidence that the UK is worryingly weak against the evil menace of Argentina and its ninja suicide penguin team”.

How terribly superior of you.

Arrogance, a sense of innately being right all of the time and a smattering of complacency, three of the most commonly seen characteristics of the political classes, senior or junior.

Sorry, forgot irresponsibility, because responsibilities and consequences are lacking in those who have their job security (even without advancement) and associated benefits for life.

When do you ever see civil servants, regardless of position, made responsible for serious mistakes? Not in the same way as you are in the forces or then in commercial life at least.

Of course, the CS is full of the most efficient, capable, and forward thinking operators in the country isn’t it?

I mean, there isn’t a single soul in the country who doesn’t believe the CS is doing a sterling job is there, and from their own direct experience of interacting with them, their decisions and their implementation of their own programs?

Res ipsa loquitur, the CS – the collection of its employees- are shockingly bad at many, many things. Far more than such an expensive organisation should be. Defence procurement being only one of them. The MOD, FCO, Home Office, DWP all the other acronyms, does anyone really think that the brightest and best minds in the country are within those institutions strategically guiding the country down the path of greatest success or utility?

But maybe that’s just because the CS is tragically misunderstood?

On a forum concerned with things that frequently go bang, one question not asked enough and never ever answered is, just how much bang do we get (or should we be getting) for our CS salary buck?

Must be terribly crowded in the Whitehall bunkers.

CS Fast Stream anyone? Only Albert Ensteins, John Chards and Donald Trumps to apply……

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 5, 2014 6:52 pm

@Aquasubz,

I very largely agree your sentiment, but your eloquence exceeds mine. I read that comment and the phrase “well why bloody bother making a comment at all you smug git?” “well not not most constructive offering, and not appearing to contain any insight” crept to mind.

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 5, 2014 6:59 pm

I would imagine that Aster 30 would be a cheaper and less inflammatory way of bolstering air defence in the islands, rather than having a squadron of Typhoon permanently unavailable for bombing Arabs.

In 1982 the Argentines expected a walk in the park, not a bloody fight. The chiefs expected to easily occupy the islands, and become the de facto rulers as Britain could not and would not do anything in response but complain; the Argies would have all the trappings of a military conquest -patriotic flag waving, parades and marching bands- but none of the body bags.

In ’82, had the Argentines thought that they would loose six hundred men they would never have set off. And had they retained the islands with six hundred dead, I reckon the junta would still have been kicked out of power.

When folks are suggesting their theoretical invasions of the Falklands, I’m interested to know what they think the Argentines would consider to be an acceptable casualty figure for taking and holding the islands. I reckon the figure has not climbed beyond the zero it was thirty years ago.

There are two issues in the islands defence Whether Argentina can physically take military action in the territory, but also whether Argentina would be prepared to pay the price of military action that the British garrison -including its little QRA flight- could extract. People on here always ignore that second issue; if they’re not prepared to take the casualties, it makes no difference if they buy these aircraft or if they pull thirty Mirage and a couple of landing ships out of a hat tomorrow morning.

Dan
Dan
January 5, 2014 7:06 pm
Reply to  WiseApe

The thread started with possible Kfir purchase and we have drifted to special forces and ninja penguins!

The difference the Kfir would make depends on where are we startting from. Who knows what the true strength of the FAA is now. Public information with a quick Google gives flight international survey of November 13 quoting 23 of the original 36 Skyhawks as being still in service. The wonders of Wiki quote the same.

Where they disagree is the mirage fleet.

Flight quotes the Mirage fleet in service as:

Mirage III 6
Mirage V 5
IAI Nesher (basically Mirage V) 7

For a total fleet of 18 aircraft, they may be updated but these are basically 1960s technology.

Wiki however reports that the Mirage III were withdrawn from service in 2011, and the Mirage V and Nesher in 2012.

The difference in terms of aircraft numbers is not that much in that the new Kfir will just get them back to where they were or if the existing mirage have not yet been withdrawn allow them to be finally be withdrawn. The difference will be in support and ground support, the Kfir is basically an upgraded mirage, if the old ones have been withdrawn in 2011, the ground crew with any experience will be gone and you are building capability from scratch.

Fedakin
January 5, 2014 7:07 pm

Good book certainly worth a read, gives a good overview of the internal army politics that forced the creation of 5de. For some in the army it was bad enough the Marine Commandos get a significant chunk of glory but the young upstart Parachute regiment was another thing altogether. The Paras but not the Guards getting some action was not a palatable idea for some. I read the book at the same time as Woodwards as it gives an interesting insight into the issues faced by the ground forces commander vs sea forces vs London.

Aside from that I wish people would actually look at a map or at least the video I posted earlier of the trip between Stanley and MPA. Special forces would have to transit many miles of open ground that has no cover and off the road is rather hard going with only light equipment without anybody noticing. The locals would spot something was up waaaaay before anybody got close to MPA.

Here is a comment by a French poster and my reply on another forum on this very matter:


Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas10 View Post
Saturate the island with paratroops and commandos to take control of a port and the airports. Have cargos ready to carry the most heavy stuff before the UK can send a few nuclear subs in the area and cut your supply lines, then set up an aerial bridge to bring the rest and supplies.

My answer
Rubbish! Poor even for you Nic!

Saturate the Islands with Paratroopers and Commandos?! How do you propose Argentina does that Nic? They only have eight Hercules that would have to get pass the Typhoons of 1435 then perform an opposed para-drop with no heavy equipment. They couldn’t do it close to MPA as the airbase Rapier batteries would cut the Hercules performing the drop to shreds. A Hercules can carry 64 troops so even being generous and saying the Argentine airforce could manage to get all eight aircraft over the Islands and perform a drop we are still talking about 512 men not counting that there is always a percentage who injure themselves on a drop. So hardly saturating the Islands with paratroopers is it? Those poor sods would be rounded up by a very pissed off FIDF more heavily armed before they even met the Garrison!

How do you propose getting Commandos onto the Island Nic?! As already established the Merchant ship plan is a non starter so what are the alternatives? Submarines? Well they only have three small Diesel submarines active (with very low serviceability), at best they could land a tiny handful of men. Lets be generous and say each submarine puts in fifteen men each we are talking about a force of about forty five men….fifty tops! Again they have to get over sparse open country with no support, no heavy equipment, without being discovered and then take on a vastly larger and well em-placed garrison plus the FIDF. The Garrison and FIDF have access to heavy equipment, transport and most importantly helicopters. So how about an opposed landing with their main Marine force? Well firstly there are only limited number of places that can be done all of them scoped out by the British garrison and FIDF. All of those locations will be watched. Even more of problem Argentina only has one troop landing ship the 11000ton ARA Bahía San Blas. So same old problem it has to approach the Islands without being spotted and then perform a landing of what will be a force far smaller then the Garrison and FIDF. Do you think the UK would ignore a troop landing ship approaching the Islands?!

It is an absurd idea and again somehow assumes that the British forces on the Islands are utter morons!”

dave haine
dave haine
January 5, 2014 7:18 pm

@SR
MPA is an operational base and it is also a international airport, so it has to meet ICAO standards for ATS, A/F OPS, Fire services and Terminal passenger services. It has a 767-300 twice a week and has been declared a diversion airport, so has to have Cat 7 fire cover. The Falklands is controlled airspace so has to meet ICAO standards too.

There is a service from Punta Arenas once a week, and there will be a service from Uruguay up to twice a week.

And as Yeovilton is a training base, there seems to be very little actual aircraft movements, yet quite a few chaps, wandering about.

What I’m trying to get at is much as we were discussing about crews for the escorts, in another thread. Just as operating a modern complex warship requires a certain amount of manpower, all trained to specific tasks, and going below that level raises operational and safety risks. So it is with the RAF, if you look at the RAF as a system, instead of just as an aircraft operator.
Now I will defer to you because you know about naval operations and ships, and I appreciate and respect your knowledge and experience. But I have 36yrs in aviation, both military and civil and I know about aircraft operations.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 7:28 pm

@TD

I would say that since 2011 we have made cuts but also begun to bring some new and technologically advanced kit into service. We have continued to gain combat experience in Afghanistan and things like UAV ops have become more advanced.

The Argentinians in comparison have allowed their MEKO munitions to become life expired. Can barely field 10 A4s, have Submarines with no submerged training and possibly 6 functional OPV that struggle to do EEZ patrols. So definitely a net gain for us.
Their capabilities may improve over the coming years but then we will bring Astute fully online, F35B into service, CVF, Typhoon upgrades, AAR, A400M etc.

As long as we continue to monitor and adjust I see little to be scared about.

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
January 5, 2014 7:44 pm

@ Think Defence

I predict that we will keep coming back to this issue every year until the Queen Elizabeth class carriers (ideally both) are fully operational with F35 jets and Crowsnest AEW helicopters. If the Argies were to take the islands through some kind of surprise asymmetrical attack it would be very difficult for us to retake them without air cover. So if the Argies really want the islands and are willing to take a major gamble they have a window of opportunity about six years long until the first carrier is fully operational!

Aquasubz
Aquasubz
January 5, 2014 7:48 pm

My main argument was that at some point in the near future, there will be oil flowing and that in itself, will make it a more attractive prospect for a wrong headed Carlos seeking to divert pressures at home. And we, (like many others) are poor at thinking ahead.

In that instance, 10 years from now, how could security for a group of wells, disparate from each other, offshore and the expensive civilian things shuttling back and for be reasonably improved?

And as it takes our betters and masters a dogs age to get something done, should we not think about it now, whilst making the Islanders and the companies aware that, they will have shell out for it to a greater degree ultimately, and over time. If they want it securing.

And bearing in mind that it generally isn’t the biggest, hardest looking kids that put themselves about in the playground that get threatened and ganged up on and have to resort to fisticuffs when they don’t want to. It’s usually the weedy, rule following, reasonable ones.

And who knows about a burgeoning Latin American confidence and solidarity?

The point being, that if scroats think something is liable to end in a good hiding, they tend to stop considering it.

All you need is that think-twice ability! :}

Couple of permanently based OPVs/FAC?
Increased Lynx, Merlin presence? There will have to be a better SAR capability anyway to serve the oil infrastructure.
(not asking much)
MPA with Harpoon? (Perhaps also needed for SAR cover with vastly increased shipping traffic)
A few more Typhoons with an (eventually) AshM, AGM capability?
Ocean replacement?
(Asking for significantly more)

bearing in mind that it isn’t now it’s 5-10 years hence and I don’t necessarily say it will call for much more, just more than we have now.

Serious deterrents work and history is full of the great and good who forget that and cost us all a lot of money and lives.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 7:53 pm

@ Andrew Wood

Or until we decide that they actually offer a threat and put a Battalion of troops down South. With UAV ISTAR, Artillery, light armour and more helos. Supported by an increased number of multi role Typhoons, CAMM(L) and if we were really worried a couple of TESLAR NSM bought of the Norwegians :)

It then becomes unfeasible for them without a total overhaul of their entire armed forces and huge investment.

Rocket Banana
January 5, 2014 7:59 pm

A bit of light Sunday evening madness…

Inserted Argentinian SF spy on airfield ops and determine configuration of any scrambled Tiffy. This determines endurance and therefore time of next A4 skirmish.

SF take out ground radar using RC planes with a warhead (we call then UAVs now) just prior to arrival of first wave (well, a few) of A4s.

Whilst the air skirmishes are underway (which are only intended to make the Tiffy maintenance engineers work extra hard) a swarm of LCUs and RHIBs heads from the Argentine mainland with the purpose of taking West Falkland. These craft would have been detected by our nearby SSN but it is unlikely to be in a position to do anything about it. It therefore notifies Clyde which is pretty ineffective because each LCU has a .50 cal on it which means engagement by its 30mm a bit dangerous since there are loads of them.

Along with the LCUs are a number of RHIBs, each fitted with explosives and used as suicide (nearly – driver jumps out last-minute) rams just in case the South Atlantic Patrol ship happens to turn up. Should it stay out of range (but within it’s 4.5 inch range) then the LCU/RHIB swarm use the direction of fire to intercept it. Any embarked Lynx will be shot down by MANPADS.

This is the “political” bit…

The invasion is only for 1/2 of the territory (West Falkland).

The entire LCU inventory that is delivered is men, women, children, building materials and supplies, intent on “settlement”.

wf
wf
January 5, 2014 8:04 pm

@Andrew Wood: yup, that’s the nub. Make it obvious you can have them back in a couple of weeks, FAA notwithstanding, and the necessity for large expenditures for forward deployed forces decrease

Aquasubz
Aquasubz
January 5, 2014 8:10 pm

@RT

BTW, I remember reading your post about a specialist University of the South Atlantic and I thought it was absolutely inspired. If ever there was a need for DfID money this would be it.

The Antarctic is increasingly important and will be (and should be) even more of a focus for research and even commercial development.

So there is a valid need for it anyway, it would spur development on just the FI but also Sth Georgia and the St Helena group as well, as it would give those poor b”ggers somewhere to go and work and more options too! (for those that laugh i know they aren’t in the same cul-de-sac but the St Helena group already has expats working in the Falklands).

I don’t know for sure but I’d be pretty sure GDP in the FI and the standard of living is better than in most of the OAS, doing this would highlight that difference even more, as to the FI being a modern 1st world environment and so not to be subject to some basket case 2nd world petty colonial disputes and it would help the economies of the other dependencies too.

A cheap way to get worldwide wide and longstanding kudos and put any political manouverings to one side, for good.

The Septics already have a company with a drilling licence, but you could never be sure the Septics under a dodgy democrat govt wouldn’t side with the OAS at the UN by not overtly siding with us.

A world class research facility that also provided some industrial and academic opportunities to study for the locals across all the South Atlantic dependencies would be great. There’d be outrage if it was threatened as Antarctic work can genuinely be international and a local leading research facility would be a beautiful thing for world harmony and touchyfeelyness.

We could even get the emigrants to Patagonia over to boost the Rugby team :)

Mark
Mark
January 5, 2014 8:21 pm

It should perhaps be said that when argentia invaded the Falklands in 1982 its air arms had something like 500 aircraft and helicopters all shapes and sizes and over 100 relatively modern fastjet aircraft with quite a number of experienced operators. Given that today or in the future your looking at and fastjet fleet of less than 30 aircraft many barely serviceable and with thread bare training. Against a british capability in 1982 of an ice patrol ship and 50 marines to now a very much larger modern force with purpose built facilities.

Simon the raf typhoon qra configuration is not a hard one to know its photographed and seen regular all the time even in the raf own website.

When needing carriers to show the argies what for is brought up I always thing what’s our plan to retake devonport when the French sneak in and take it over cause both have the same chance of happening

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 8:27 pm

@ Mark

Exactly, I must disagree with Wf and Andrew Wood, whilst their capabilities remain so low the best plan is simply to demonstrate that they cannot take the Islands.
Taking them back even with a CVF or 2 and TLAM and F35B would be an expensive business, certainly in terms of money and unfortunately, probably in terms of lives.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 5, 2014 8:44 pm

@ Aquasubz,

The University of the S Atl seems such an obvious idea that I can’t / don’t claim it. As the oil prospecting moves forward, I suspect that it could even self-finance. But critical would be to make it really international UN, under a British oversight that is both generous and internationally acknowledged. Just establishing that would I think buttress our credibility in the UN to maintain our presence in the SA.

Don’t forget Tristan da Cunha as well. 207 square kms of BOT closer than St Helena or Ascension.

Dan
Dan
January 5, 2014 8:44 pm

We will keep coming back to this for a couple of reasons the major one is it is one of the only scenarios were the UK will realistically be operating on its own using purely national assets almost any other scenario sees us operating as part of a coalition. That means any time someone claims we need xx the answer can legitimately be its OK the yanks or the French or whoever will provide that.

For a scenario of the islands that can not be named you have what you have and that is all you get.

The special forces ninja penguin scenario which allows Argentina to take out a force of 1000 men on the ground, take the airport put it into use and then significantly reinforce exists for the same reason, no one believes it is true, but if you want to get to an argument about can we re-take the islands you have to lose the islands first. In alt-history discussions it is known as ASB, “if alien space bats had helped hitler to build the Channel tunnel then SeaLion would have worked!”

If after 30 years of planning 1000 men on the ground, land based air cover and an airfield specifically built to allow rapid re-inforcement and we do not put up a better fight than 50 unprepared RM in 1982 then everyone involved deserves court martial.

wf
wf
January 5, 2014 9:12 pm

: the point being made by myself and others is not that we need ninja penguins to take out the entire garrison. The Argentinians merely need to disable it while they make a lodgement. Once significant Argentinian forces are ashore, MPA is useless, and the Argentinian’s will soon have a lovely airbase on which to rain destruction on our task force (without any air cover) once it arrives. The only good side of things might be us blowing the fuck out of the MPA runway before we surrender. But it’s a hell of a lot of concrete to permanently destroy.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 5, 2014 9:16 pm

The point other people are making is that disabling it is likely well beyond them and they have no amphib offload capability to get further troops ashore.

Phil
January 5, 2014 9:29 pm

The Argentinians merely need to disable it while they make a lodgement.

“Merely”. Hmmmm.

SomewhatRemoved
SomewhatRemoved
January 5, 2014 9:36 pm

Dave,

Okay, fair enough. My opinion is a little different. Having spent quite some time there recently the overall impression was a lot of people and a lot of activity for very little output. The seperate sections seem utterly incapable of communicating with one another; case in point, when we had to link up an OPDEF part being brought out from the UK for onwards move to us by helicopter, we had to get involved at every single stage of the process, arranging every onwards move and doing all the coordination. What else are the RAF movers for? There are many more examples which build my overall frustration.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll happily bad-mouth our own WAFU’s at any opportunity I get, but comparing Yeovilton and MPA is pointless. I spent many years living on RAF bases thanks to my Dad, and my brother is a serving RAF man, and I’ve seen several RAF bases where the level of activity is low. In fact, the existence of go-kart tracks seems to be an essential component of every base I’ve visited so far! But I know the operational output of Yeovilton, and like it or not we get a steady stream of qualified aircrew and aircraft to the front line. Any airbase, dark or light blue, cannot have aircraft airborne every hour of every day, and there are twenty or more helicopters at Yeovilton. Perhaps you don’t live quite as close as you think, because there is no possible way that days go by without a single flight. And if that does happen, I care not – I still get pilots, observers, maintainers, ground crew and aircraft controllers on time and when needed. Yeovilton is the principal airbase for the Lynx Maritime Helicopter Force and delivers operational capability in spades. If they choose to play more sports than I will ever have time to and make up 90% of the RN Ski Championships team, then they chose their branch well. But don’t for a second try and convince me that the RAF are any more efficient, because the experience doesn’t match up. And MPA is still, IMHO, a vast, sprawling inefficient organisation that could stand to shed a lot of people and is more concerned with its own existence thananything else.

Edit: Of course, that’s just my opinion. No need to take it as ground truth!

Mark
Mark
January 5, 2014 9:48 pm

We should take comfort from the knowledge that should the Falklands be retaken by the argies we can then take it back with a few fishing trawls a civil airliner and 100 members of the sbs in not much time at all its frightening easy apparently.

All Politicians are the Same