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Since the Brexit vote in 2016 Theresa May’s Conservative Government have sought to push forward the ‘Global Britain’ policy campaign. However, as the Foreign Affairs Select Committee recently highlighted, there has thus far been little change in policy output to reflect this pan-government policy.

This article was submitted by Jeremy Sacramento, Jeremy is currently completing a Masters in International Law and Security at the University of Southern Denmark, having previously graduated with a Masters in Public Policy at King’s College London, and prior to that a Bachelors in International Politics from the University of Surrey.

Although theoretically a pan-government policy, there are four primary departments that are in the driving seat: the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the Department for International Trade, and the Ministry of Defence.

However there is a slight paradox to the Global Britain drive. The two main departments, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence, have both been subject to punishing efficiency measures; and in the case of the latter, these are seemingly not over. This is an especially worrisome prospect at this particular juncture in history. Not only because defence provides the hard power capacity that underwrites and extends wider foreign policy, i.e. provides the ultimate safeguards for Global Britain, but also, because the present strategic reality itself is an increasingly complex one. In other words, the globe Global Britain wants to operate in is an ever more precarious one – think a resurgent Russia, an assertive China, and an unabated threat from terrorist actors.

With nearly seven years of steep cuts ushered in by the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 (SDSR 10), it is little surprise that Retired First Sea Lord Admiral George Zambellas recently retorted that the armed forces had reached “the bottom of the efficiency barrel”; yet in mid-2017 the UK Government once again decided to launch a fresh review. This has come less than two years after the SDSR 15, which is not even half way into its implementation – since 2010 security reviews should occur every five years. This new review, the ‘National Security Capability Review’ (published 28 March 2018) was conducted by the Prime Minister’s Security Advisor, Sir Mark Sedwill, and was initially set to cover the whole of government, including defence. However, following a spate of leaks the NSCR was split, and a splinter uniquely defence review titled ‘Modernising Defence Programme’ was commissioned – due to be published mid-2018.

The leaks that led to this separate review shed light on the government’s thinking. One of the major revelations was that of reducing or even eliminating the UK’s amphibious capability, entailing: scrapping HMS Albion and her sister Bulwark, some, or all three RFA Bay Class dock landing ships, and the bulk of Royal Marines. Another leak suggested the further reduction of the British Army’s regular element – already down from 112,000 to 82,000 since 2010. A further leak alleged a reduction in the order of the fifth generation F-35B. Any of these steps would undermine the very essence of the Global Britain policy, and could prove disastrous for the UK’s wider foreign policies, not to mention its national security.

Any of these prospects prove notably daunting for Gibraltar.

For starters, a British fighting force that is thinly stretched and hollowed out leaves Gibraltar, which sits in an enviably strategic position, uncomfortably vulnerable – both for Gibraltar’s and the UK’s interests. Gibraltar carries a number of salient strategic benefits, most notably it presides over a crucial choke point in the sea lines of communication between the UK and the East – note also Russian communication between its Northern cold water ports and its warm water ports in the Black Sea. It also forms the bridge between the increasingly unstable Sahel region and Europe. Should things turn awry this makes Gibraltar an attractive target, whether in its own right, to disrupt Britain’s sea lines of communication, or to deprive the UK from this useful Forward Operating Base. And Global Britain itself further adds to this. In Theresa May’s words, Global Britain aims to “reach out to the world”, that means increased trade with states on the farthest corners of the world, in particular the Far East and Middle East, if the latest trade missions are an indicator. More trade to and from Britain through this choke point means greater value.

Apart from this strategic element, Gibraltar has an inseparable, indeed natural, connection with the British armed forces, given that 250 years of its 314 years as a British territory have been as a military fortress. Until recently, the Gibraltarian has grown-up immersed in military tradition, with the near-constant sight of Royal Navy vessels in port and a kaleidoscope of uniformed personnel scuttling across the city, not to mention the roaring sound of Tornado engines conducting a fly-past. In fact the MoD, like any garrison town, is the essence of Gibraltar’s British heritage, with Britishness being almost synonymous with the scarlet tunic. But beyond underlining Gibraltar’s British heritage, it is the representative value of this against the continued long shadow of Spain’s sovereignty claim – which Brexit compounds. The symbolic value of British commitment to the Rock the MoD provides is therefore as important as ever. Further reductions to the armed forces, including fewer naval and RAF visits, and an ever shrinking permanent HQ presence – the MoD footprint on the Rock is down to minute proportions – could thus deprive Gibraltar of Britain’s most tangible manifestation of its commitment.

On a more abstract level, a further relative decline of the UK’s armed forces – not only relative to Russia and China, but also relative to the staggering increases in defence spending by Middle Eastern states – will impact on the UK’s standing on the world stage. Although a crude measure, defence capabilities are indeed a barometer for diplomatic clout. A reduction in its clout therefore, could in the future complicate the UK’s ability to garner support on international fora, in particular the UN. This presents a further problem for Gibraltar and the Spanish claim.

The above illustrates that the prospects of a further deterioration in the Armed Force’s capabilities could carry ramifications for even comparatively less conspicuous issues. However, reality appears to have struck the austerity-eager Conservative government. The just published NCSR gives much needed and unrestrained impetus to foreign and security policy and in how these serve other policy objectives, notably trade. Might the upcoming MDP review show a similar realisation? If it does, there is hope that Global Britain may indeed – at least once more substance is produced – be a success for the UK and its overseas territories.

70 COMMENTS

  1. Bit tired of these garrulous repetitive blasts from the past. Is there no commentator that is numerate analytical and has any notion of modern analytical techniques?
    We are constantly compared to Russia/China/India these countries have each between 70% and 90% “Legacy” equipment and spend similar percentages of. There militants budgets on pay & pension, leaving very little for “advanced” kit. A teenager could come up with better military analysis. As for the childish belief in Russian/Chinese advanced vapourware….

  2. You know Malta back in the day when they were still an overseas territory wanted to fully integrate into the UK? They even held a referendum and voted to become a part of the UK. Then the usual bumbling British politicians came along and decided to close down most of the government owned facilities on Malta and they lost a lot of jobs which killed the Maltese enthusiasm for it. Makes one think how it would have changed things today having a port and base in the west, central and eastern mediteranian. Just some interesting alternate history musing.

    • I believe it was the Labour Government of the day that rejected Malta joining the Union to become the fifth home nation on the grounds of cost, as it would have needed subsidies from the U.K. Government. Has to have been one of the most shortsighted territory decisions since Russia sold Alaska.

      • I believe the Labor Party’s left wing also was hell-bent on shedding any intimations of Imperialism. Even though the Maltese wanted an association, the left wing didn’t. Malta was not alone in that desire for a relationship.

      • It was nothing to do with the Labour party. The Maltese United Kingdom integration referendum was held in 1956 under the Conservative government of Anthony Eden (elected the year before). The Maltese voted by a majority of 77% on a turnout of just under 60% to join the UK, the idea being that they would have 3 seats in the House of Commons. 8 years later Malta became independent.

  3. It would be a great strategic base and surely would have been quite busy. On the negative side it may have given us a bigger problem with immigration/asylum seekers

    • That was my first thought! No way. Immigrants by the thousand from Libya them could move directly to the UK mainland.

  4. To throw a different point of view on this, there’s the problem of “Empire”. The UK had one, and it’s gone. And if it’s mentioned, like in the context of “Empire 2.0”, moderate people shuffle their feet and look awkward. Empire of course implies conquest, colonisation, forcible taking of land, trading with beads and sending missionaries. Empire Bad!

    But then there’s the word “Global”. Global is good surely, we all live on one planet and it’s good to talk – and do business. So perhaps the problem is to clearly differentiate between “Empire” and “Global”, and show that while one is history, the other is present and future? Global Good!

    I say this from the perspective of Scotland, as an Independence supporter but perhaps not one of the more extreme variety. Just about all Indy supporters look forward to Scotland being truly Global with our own very distinctive brand. But say “Empire” to Indy supporters and they’d accuse you of being a pretendy Indy supporter. Perhaps that makes it clearer, for me at least, the difference between the two words.

    But perhaps the “establishment” in the UK need to address that problem, and realise that to be Global does require a defensive posture, with the ability to attack being a part of defence. We too would have that problem in Independent Scotland, something not all Indy supporters realise.

    Hope this helps!

    • Hi pal, as an Englishman with a Scottish Indy supporting family I was not really bothered either way, although deep down I was kind of rooting for a yes vote, I have to disagree with this statement..

      “realise that to be Global does require a defensive posture, with the ability to attack being a part of defence. We too would have that problem in Independent Scotland, something not all Indy supporters realise.”

      An independent Scotland would almost certainly be an EU member so how come Ireland, Finland, Slovakia and Denmark (roughly same population size) don’t have that problem, they all have patrol boats not a single proper warship I think.

      • Whilst I agree with your sentiment that an independent Scotland could indeed defend itself with just a handful of patrol boats as in the Irish and Finnish model. Perhaps Slovakia and Denmark were poor examples to choose given that Denmark does in fact have a significant number of large modern combat vessels and Slovakia is in fact a land locked nation, having no requirement for a navy.

        Additionally I would say that Scotland would require more than such a token force if it truly wanted to be taken seriously on a global level, with significant naval expansion probably being in the immediate interest of a recently independent Scottish government given the inevitable lack of contracts from traditional sources which would befall the Scottish shipbuilding industry.

        • Daniel-the reason Scotland could defend itself with a handful of patrol boats is as for e.g Ireland and NZ (neither of whom have airforces apart from Recce,transport etc,)-that is-the UK, Australia and the good old USA are always there to provide free rides all round. Small nations can afford to be vocally pacifist and anti-Nuclear as they know The Americans and Brits are there in case the s*** hits the fan!

        • Hi Daniel, yes you’re right about that, I just used the four countries in a row with roughly the same population as Scotland, I knew what the Irish had and had a look at Finland and Denmark’s wiki page, saw the frigates and as they are small patrol frigates and 3 anti air I wouldn’t put them in the category of“global” but after reading the page in detail they have 9 frigates of various sizes which are all capapable of deploying globally.

          Thanks for that 👍

          • Hi SoleSurvivor
            I agree wtih both Daniel and Geoff on this, if Scotland didn’t have proportionate forces we would be sheltering under the rUK’s umbrella without paying for it. Well, if that’s what the politicians of the time decide, I’d be disappointed and to be frank, a bit humiliated. Ireland is different because of the way their Independence came about, and reverse agreements which I think are still in force, it has fine OPVs and resources to police its waters, but not a lot for airspace. They’re a Partner for Peace in NATO – as is Russia!

            For me Scotland would need fast jets for airpsace, 1 squadron of 12-16 Typhoons if inherited, or 2 squadrons total 32 Gripen C/D if bought in with Meteor amongst cheaper missiles, upgrading to the E/F at the end of the 20s. Plus 4 frigates somewhere between the T26 and the T31 in cost and ability, plus OPVs, inshore, and Merlins or equivalent for ASW, and an army capable of minimum civil emergencies and some fight!

            Add to that presuming membership of NATO, something to contribute, and I’d like from an older article on UKDJ a large deck amhib capable of taking 4 F35-B though the initial budget wouldn’t allow for them, and having just 6 to provide 4 active at a pinch, means more expensive each for logistics and support. Plus strong marines – we too are a maritime nation. Perhaps our focus would be North Atlantic, North Sea and of course the Arctic – with the GIS gap making it more difficult for us to sit back, wave our hands and say “hey, everyone loves us, we’re neutral”. Look at Belgium in 1914 and 1940.

            As for the EU, I’m with others on this forum, it doesn’t do enough. To an extent it shelters under the UK and France’s nuclear umbrella, and a higher defence spend by both – as well as the Yanks of course!

          • Fair enough pal

            I do think you and many other Scots with an eye for defence will be underwhelmed if you ever achieve independence though, I genuinely believe defence in an independent Scotland would be bottom of the list of importance, politicians would think why waste money on a lot of defence knowing the UK would never allow anything to happen to you.

    • Morning dadsarmy. I am a Unionist of the heart and I suspect that your Scottish Nationalism comes from the same place. However I still think that the UK can easily accommodate the rich variety of it’s peoples in one house and at the same time allow room for free expression of the different nuances of identity( sorry if that sounds a little pretentious but I am sure you get my drift) A split would diminish the UK all round particularly in the area of Defence with unnecessary and costly duplication and upheaval. As to Gibraltar and the other Overseas Territories I have never heard a coherent answer from the SNP as to what would happen to them if Scotland did leave the Union. Some say-“give us our share”-others”we want nothing to do with’colonialism’-keep them”.What are your thoughts?
      Finally-I feel British as opposed to S I W E. My son had two grandparents born in NI of Scots descent,One born in England of a welsh mother, and one born in Edinburgh. I am sure this sort of mix is the norm for most British people so why try to unscramble these Centuries old eggs?

      Regards from Durban

      • Hi Geoff
        The UK Government, in my opinion, has little resepct for the Scottish Government. You can see that too in the House of Commons in the way the 35 SNP MPs – the 3rd largest party in the HoC – are treated by the Conservatives, and even by Labour. But they were legally and democratically elected by the Scottish People to serve in the House of Commons, and due exactly the same respect as any other MP from anywhere in the UK. Even above there’s a comment which illustrates contempt some people feel for Scotland, and in the media Wales suffers too, with a comment about the proposed renaming of the Severn Bridge being something like “a bridge to connect rain-sodden valleys with the first world”. Wales not therefore being part of the “first world”. Scotland gets worse from the media, often. Some of it is just stupid ignorance I guess.

        So for me it just doesn’t work. May often sounds out about devolved issues which, to be frank, are none of her business, they’re devolved and the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament, not the UK one. If the devolved countries were treated with respect for devolution then there might be a future for the UK, though badly missing is an equivalent English Parliament whose purpose is to fight up for England. The asymetrical devolution just doesn’t work.

        For defence my hope would be that rUK + Scotland is greater than or equal to UK. This could happen with defence co-operation such as QRA North, and a little less of “take shipbuilding out of Scotland they don’t deserve it”. But hey, it’s up to level heads to ignore that, and hopefully the separate defence establishments would work together soundly, prioritising defence not politics. The “greater than” part comes from Scotland being able to work together cloesly perhaps with Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, and perhaps even Holland and Germany, for northern defence such as the Baltic and Arctic, meaning the rUK could concentrate more on southern climes with its back door well protected.

        Gib and Falklands I’d see as being the responsibility of the rUK, BUT since Scotland tends to respect self-determination, exercised in 2014 by at that time, a NO vote – a vote to remain in the UK, Scotland similarly should respect the peoples of Gibraltar and the Falklands and be prepared to move to join in their defence from invasion if neccessary.

        • Hi dadsarmy,

          I think there is a lot of confusion over what the prevailing “English” opinion is on Scottish independence. In my experience, the majority of English people would prefer to identify as British rather than English, with the Union Flag representing some of our nation’s finest achievements whilst St George’s Cross is primarily viewed as a banner for football hooligans.

          So when you mention the MPs in Westminster treating the SMP MPs with contempt, do you not thing that may be due to the fact that those SMP MPs are deliberately and publicly attempting to undermine the very nation which the rest of the MPs are sworn to serve (the UK, not England)? True there may be contempt for the SMP in Westminster for these reasons, but that is not to say that there is a contempt for the Scottish people or for Scotland itself.

          As for the shipbuilding situation, opening military contracts to an independent Scotland would mean we would also be compelled to open them to other foreign shipyards, causing an inevitable end to high-end British shipbuilding.

        • Nice to have a civilised conversation with gentlemen as opposed to some of the punchups on the Scotsman or Herald! 🙂

  5. Seems to be these types of opinion pieces rolling out quite frequently now, last night we had imaginary redundancies, assets being cut that are not even on the table, and 1000 families having a breakdown and ruining local economies.

    Now we have an imaginary invasion of Gibraltar.

    These articles come from the misconception that the size of a nations military determines how good a trade deal they can get. It genuinely doesn’t matter, the only thing people making these deals care about is how much money they are going to make, it’s a consumer driven market, we could have 20 aircraft carriers if the deal does not make them money they will go elsewhere.

    I understand the reason for these though, we’re scared of potential cuts, but we don’t need misconceptions and half truths to justify why we need what we need, which is more of everything really. We need to be able to defend ourselves and our allies simple as that, and that’s more than enough reason for no more cuts and an actual increase in defence spending as proportion of GDP.

    It’s also strange to use Gibraltar, it is probably the safest overseas territory we have, I mean are you suggested Spain a NATO ally is going to invade Gib if we lose amphibious capability? that’s outlandish.

    I would of thought the Falklands would be a better example, we may laugh at the state of the argentine military at the moment but their economy has doubled in the 15 years since their last recession which decimated defence investment, GDP growth at 3.5%, they still have big problems with inflation and unemployment but very strong public will about the Falklands, all it takes is slight increase in defence spending and throw in the loss of our amphibious capability I think they would try it again in a heartbeat, and it will be nigh on impossible for us to take back if our amphibious capability is lost.

    • Question for all.
      If one NATO member attacked another, such as Spain invading Gibraltar, would the U.K. be able to invoke Article 5 and request the full might of NATO to take action against Spain? Or does Article 5 only cover attacks by a non-NATO member on a member?

      • From what I can gather there is nothing legally stoping a country from invoking article 5 against a fellow NATO member if they are doing the attacking.

        Happened with Greece and Turkey in Cyprus, and everyone applied massive pressure to bring an immediate end to it, which is why we are left with the illegal Turkish northern Cyprus, another classic US foreign policy disaster, we were ready to cut off the Turks with a task force but needed the US 6th fleet, Kissinger slapped the idea down as well as a British threat of military action, scared about pushing the Turks to USSR, just like Egypt at Suez.

    • SoleSurvivor@

      Its not just Spain that is still a threat. I say still because they recent did threaten to take it, but because if you possess a strategic defence asset you have to look after it.

      Looking at the posts here there is a large degree of hubris surrounding Gibraltar and
      a general unawareness of the risks associated with owning a piece of real estate and protecting its people in a relatively unstable part of the Globe.

      • Hi mate

        I think you’re only reading the headline and not the detail, there has been no threat of any military action, all talk regarding Gibraltar has been diplomatic, if the Spanish think they have a way of getting Gibraltar back through Brexit then let them talk, Gibraltar is British, it was signed over in perpetuity in a legal treaty.

        Spain knows any way of getting it back will only ever be achieved through diplomacy, which is why they are asking for joint sovereignty.

  6. The Falklands is very well protected these day’s and will soon have the updated air defence missile system (Land Ceptor). The Falklands also has a garrison of 1,000 military personnel and 200 personnel of the Falklands defence force plus four Typhoon jets.

  7. Just to add to the above: could also be reinforced with extra Typhoons and a company of army personnel fairly quickly. Then if needed extra reinforcements could be sent.

    • In an ideal world this is true, but in the real world, it would take weeks.

      The Government knows that reinforcing the falklands would look bad, from the perspective of our north and south america allies, and so if the intel guys tomorrow said there was an increased risk of attack, chances are the government would dither and ultimately not react.

      Chances are the politicians would only sign off on it once the invasion had already began. For the reinforcements to be of any use, we would need to send a few hundred troops as a min, which means multiple transport planes (probably more for some equipment), which would probably refuel in ascension and so take close to 2 days to arrive, plus a few days prep in the UK.

      You’re probably talking a week before the reinforcements arrive.

      Ok Argentina is in no position to attack today, but the idea that it is that well defended and could be rapidly reinforced is a bit up for debate.

  8. Grand to see comments above. Let us hope for an independent Scotland and a re united Ireland. Might calm wee England down and lot and put them in their place!

    • Peder you are a russian ,you are not fooling anybody so just reflect on the fact that your nation is isolated and poor ,for example GB has twice the size economy then russia, try your lame insults on RT they lack reality to , it seems to be a russian trait

      • You are a laugh lad. Agreeing with two other posters above (Dads Army / Sole Survivor)
        Here’s to an independent Alba and a united Eire. As for wee England, I care not.

          • Dont let eejit Peder get to you Sean. The Scots are family and his attempt to divide us is crude and not worth replying to

          • Don’t bite Sean, Peder would like to divide Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales whether or not any of those become Independent. What would be desirable with either a continuation of the Union, or for instance Independence for Scotland, is continuing good relations.

            There are those who don’t want to see that happen, as Geoff says.

            I’m a true Scottish Independence supporter, and you won’t see me slagging England off.

  9. RFA Fort Austin was with the Spring Train ships near Gibraltar in 1982 and was ordered South to support HMS Endurance on the 26th of March. HMS Spartan was also there. If Spartan had been ordered South on the 26th then at 30 knots and not stopping for signals every 6 hours and allowing the 1 day needed for stores loading at Gibraltar then she would have arrived off Port Stanley on the morning of April 4th. Too late to stop the invasion on the 1st, but early enough to sink the invading fleet before it left and leave the invading force isolated without supplies. Argentina would have done their air bridge but our task force would only have faced maybe 3,000 enemy without heavy weapons instead of the 11,000 that we actually did. It would have taken a brave PM to order any sinking so early but the war would have been shorter, cheaper and less bloody on both sides.

    If anything similar happened today we are unlikely to have a SSN any nearer than the UK and unlikely to be able to send one immediately like we should have done before. Even if we did, I don’t think we will have a PM willing to sink an enemy ship off Stanley. For all the games of fantasy fleets and counter history that can be played, the one big factor in my mind that gets in the way are the politicians, the same ones that threaten to cut RM and assets even further. I worry about the ROE given to our forces and what actions they would be allowed to take if it should be necessary. What for example would the RAF really be allowed to do if a Tupolov Bear actually entered UK airspace?

    • If a ‘Bear’ penetrated our air space and carried on travelling towards the mainland I hope to god it would be shot down and the consequences dealt with later. No PM can take the risk of allowing a nuclear capable bomber of a foreign power with uncertain intentions into out air space near civilian populations.

        • my guess nothing would happen. The Russian ambassador would he called to explain and that would be the end of it. Unless of course the bear dropped it’s nukes and a different end of it.

          • I can’t see that happening. The aircraft would be warned via radio, then visually. Then maybe an attempt to force it to change course, if all these things are ignored then a burst of 30mm as a warning should follow and if all that is ignored you can be fairly certain it’s not here to take photos and feel fully justified in shooting it down. We could also fully expect plenty of support for our position internationally.

    • I watched the build up to the invasion of the Falklands with mounting apprehension. This awareness came from spending time in Gibraltar. Gibraltar had limited defence assets then and even less now.
      The UK government has long since had little understanding or inclination to understand the necessity of forces on the ground (or Sea) in its British overseas territories. A reminder though, of the humiliation, deserved in the case of Nott and less deserved in the case of Carrington, should be a useful reminder that ones career can suffer irreparable disaster at the hands of an invasion of our territory.
      Gibraltar has been under thinly veiled and actual threat from the Spanish for a number of years. With Brexit this danger increases quite significantly. The Spanish have said so openly.
      They have been quietly assembling an Armada of landing ships of varying sorts and sizes.
      with which to carry out their threats.
      Yesterday they applied to the USA Government to purchase 17 CH47 Helicopters.
      Gibraltar deserves exactly the same defence strength as the Falklands; no Less. To wontonly lose it would be treasonable.

      • Landing Ships???

        Would it not be easier for them to roll over the border ( next to RAF Gibraltars runway ) and drive in?

        I doubt there are many landing sites on the rock available and again whats the point, they could just drive in.

        The Royal Gibraltar Regiment is small with 2 Infantry Companies, 1 of which is reservist, HQ Coy, Support Coy, a Band, and some Light Guns. They would not be able to hold the border and their main base is virtually on it.

        • If and of course its an If, but always expect the unexpected. Seaborne assaults have a way of moving quantities of people unnoticed right up to the point of attack. Attack by seaborne helicopter would be unexpected right?
          Therefore in addition I would like to see permanently based at least a River class, an extra infantry company rotated from the UK, A CAMM’s Battery, A flight of Tornadoes, and land based anti ship battery at Gibraltar.
          This is very much what we have in the Falklands. Is an extra 400 personnel, too much to redeploy? The only new stuff would be the missile batteries which we never seem to deem important but which should be.

    • I would think if a Bear actually entered our airspace and refused to exit while escorted by a couple of Typhoons, it would indeed be shot down. I suspect similar happened during the original Cold War, certainly Leuchars saw some intense activity at times as the airspace was tested. But in those days neither side would admit to it because of increased tensions – “training accident”. There were a few of those.

    • The ideal situation would be transfer two River class batch ones over there and have one operated by the Royal Navy and one by the Gibraltar Regiment. This would be a substantial increase in firepower and capability whereas CB90s, although nice vessels, would not really since they are only armed with 50 cals compared to 20mm cannon. Having said that though a CB90 would still be welcome none the less. Beautiful looking vessels if i say so myself.

  10. Hi Steve.. I think as things stand the Falklands are very well protected, but of course if in future the situation changed politically in Argentina and their military capabilities improved substantially then the UK government of that time would make alterations to the current defences. I also cannot quite agree with you about things being left to late when it comes to reinforcements being sent to the Falklands, if the intel: guys said the situation was becoming serious down there i don’t think the government of that time would dare take any risks about the security of the Falklands, could be political suicide if they left it to late, so no i dont think that would happen.

    • I doubt it.

      There was a poll a few years ago of younger voters and most hadn’t heard of the war. For every year that passes the political interest also drops. Ok we could have another maggy that goes it alone effectively but most modern politicians would want votes in the commons before committing troops and that process would be drawn out.

      Don’t forget that Argentina won’t suddenly over night rearm, it will be a slow process over years and so each incremental increase in their capability will appear small in isolation and too small to react.

      Combine that with an ever reducing army/navy/air force, meaning any large scale medium/long term deployment would stretch the services too much to happen.

      I am not sure 100 infantry troops that are there currently, would realistically get reinforced.

      If the invasion happened it would be a different question but with a massively reduced army and navy, we probably couldn’t send 20k troops South again.

      • The Spanish are on course to present a very credible threat to Gibraltar with their existing and very capable Armada and Yesterdays request to buy 17 CH47s from the USA.
        UK Foreign Office and Treasury…… Hello is anyone there?

  11. When you take into account the current state of the Argentinian armed forces and the low threat.. the UK government continues to keep a force of 1000 personnel and are willing to spend out on the new Falklands defence missile system plus improvements to mare harbour and so on.. i’m sure if there was a threat the UK government would react in time.

    • Agreed, would be political suicide for them, and think our armed forces are in a bad way Spain’s make ours look like the USA in comparison.

    • Daft Ron 5. I wouldn’t bet my life on that assumption. They have said they would take back Gibraltar the day we left the EU.

  12. Hello Steve..

    I think when it comes to the Falklands we will just have to: Agree to disagree.

    Have a good day all !!!

  13. Steve-the Falklands situation is vastly different than in 1982. Firstly there is a well defended base that can be quickly reinforced virtually overnight. Secondly the assets on Station including the 4 Typhoons are more than capable of seeing off an initial invasion. Finally as stated above Argentine’s military is in a state of collapse. Any attempt at covert recovery even if funds were available would be easily detected with reasonably good intelligence in place.
    What is needed is as boost to the Island’s population numbers to give them a larger and more credible voice as an’indigenous’ people entitled to make their own choices concerning their future

  14. Following on my comment before and a reply to Geoff and John Stevens.

    Argentina’s GDP is more or less the same as Saudi Arabia’s, and larger than Taiwan, Belgium and Sweden, all it would need is a small order of capabable fighter aircraft and the 4 Typhoons would not be a problem, the Falklands are tiny, there is only so much we can defend by assets on the islands, even 5,000 troops and 10 Typhoons probably would not be enough to stop an invasion force from a neighbouring country with even a half decent military, the numbers and logistics go massively against us.

    In my eyes the Falklands ultimate defence is our ability to take them back, because they could buy 20 jets, build a few landing craft and warship or 2, but to build a navy capable of stopping a full Royal Navy taskforce with carriers and ssn with RM commandoes would take decades, if at all.

    And that’s what the comment was trying to say, they are safe now, but cutting amphibious capability would make taking them back near impossible, that’s what should be talked about, not Gibraltar imo.

    • What 5000 Spartans?

      Its a country with over 40 million people that is a stones throw away, currently spends 0.8% on defence, like I said, if things changed and they spent say 2% to 3% of an economy which is just outside the top 20 then an invasion and occupation is highly doable.

  15. Hi Sole… I don’t think it would be as easy as you think for the Argentinians to invade the Falklands.

    Have a good evening all!!! 😀

  16. I think the greatest issues concerning the Falklands are ones of intelligence and political apathy.

    We were fully aware of the threat in 82 and the FCO failed to act. We had intelligence from several sources, sigint, humint, reports from the DA in Buenos Aires, that something was afoot.

    Today our intelligence services are of a different magnitude to 1982, I believe it would be nigh on impossible to hide Argentinian preparations from our intelligence assets in the South Atlantic.
    ( Which we have a plenty )

    My worry is the politicians at the top making a balls up of it.

    Reinforcing the garrison would be no problem.

    • Agreed. Reinforcing the garrison would be no problem IF the decision was made in time. If the decision was made post the invasion starting, then I would question whether we could reinforce in time, especially as the transport planes would be coming into a hot landing site.

      The typhoons there are more than capable of doing the job today, but if Argentina in a decade buys some modern ish jets, do we have enough jets available to move many more to the island in a purely deterence role and do we want to pay the bill for it. I doubt it. do we have enough troops to station a few thousand combat units the other side of the world for a purely deference. the questions go on.

      If the buid up was to happen, at what point would the government realise it is not for deterence and actually for defence. The problem is it is not a military decision and it’s not one made with hindsight.

  17. I was amused to read that the flyboys at RAF Mount Pleasant have christened their Typhoons Faith, Hope and Charity – and the reserve one ‘Desperation’. It might be a bit like Malta 1940 if the Argentinians ever get serious. The garrison is a little tripwire only, like the British battalion group in Estonia or the Malta Regt, without very speedy reinforcements none of them would last very long.

    We can reinforce in the Med and Baltic quite quickly, but Stanley is 8,000 miles away and not so easy. I think we need a slightly larger garrison there. A full flight of 6 Typhoons, 4 front line, one in the garage, one as war reserve, half an infantry battalion, maybe one of these 300-strong ‘Specialist Infantry Groups rather than a company of 100, etc. The most important asset could be a sub, a little diesel-electric one would give the Argentinian navy a real pause for thought before risking combat or troop-carrying ships on an opposed crossing.

    We probably need to put a few more bodies and kit into Gibraltar and Cyprus too, the latter is rather close to Syria and needs some air defence and a River – or larger – warship based there. The forces shouldn’t really be struggling to provide small improvements in the defence of vulnerable spots.

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