British military presence that remains in the Falkland Islands

Forty years after the end of the conflict, UK forces still on the remote archipelago

Two Typhoons flying over the Falkland Islands in a UK Ministry of Defence photo. PA
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On the 40th anniversary of the end of the UK’s conflict with Argentina, Royal Air Force Typhoon jets, hundreds of soldiers and a Royal Navy ship are among the British military presence still on the islands.

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of when Argentina surrendered in 1982, following weeks of fighting.

These are the forces that are still stationed on the remote archipelago in the South Atlantic.

Mount Pleasant

Now a British Overseas Territory, the Falkland Islands’ defence is provided by the United Kingdom.

After the conflict a permanent military base, RAF Mount Pleasant, was built on the Falklands and opened in 1985 by the Duke of York.

The base is now the centre of the British military’s presence in the South Atlantic, with between 1,300 and 1,700 military and civilian personnel based there at any time.

Royal Air Force

At the heart of the base is its airfield and two runways. Four Typhoon jets are based here, and they carry out “deterrence patrols” in an effort to ensure the security of the Falklands, the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia, according to the Royal Air Force.

A Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker is also permanently based in the Falklands, supporting the Typhoon jets, along with an A400M Atlas transport aircraft.

An early warning and airspace control network is maintained by the British military, designed to monitor the skies above the Falkland Islands.

Royal Navy

The Falkland Islands has a Royal Navy vessel permanently assigned to it, which is currently HMS Forth.

One of the Royal Navy’s second batch of offshore patrol vessels, it is armed with a 30mm cannon and patrols the South Atlantic.

British Army

The British Army also maintains a permanent presence, with hundreds of troops training on the Falklands at all times.

They have a working relationship with the Falkland Islands Defence Force, a small volunteer unit comprising residents and funded by the Falkland Islands government.

In March 2022, Armed Forces minister James Heappey said in response to a parliamentary written question: “The Ministry of Defence undertakes regular assessments of possible threats to the Falkland Islands to ensure that an appropriate defensive capability is maintained.

“Our forces in the South Atlantic are at the appropriate level to ensure the defence of the islands.”

Updated: June 13, 2022, 11:01 PM
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