The United Kingdom on Monday ordered new radar defenses to be built as it looks to strengthen its ground-based air systems on the Falkland Islands in case of future military attacks from nearby Argentina. Swedish aerospace and defense company Saab announced in a press release the $74 million deal for the Giraffe AMB radars with Britain’s Ministry of Defense.
While Whitehall, the U.K.’s defense headquarters, refused to confirm where the radars were being sent, the government said it had stated at the start of the year that the South Atlantic islands' defenses were to be upgraded with Giraffe radars during 2015. A source familiar with the U.K.’s ground-based radar systems confirmed to Defense News that the Saab equipment was being sent to the islands.
“We are delighted to have agreed to this significant expansion and upgrade of the Giraffe AMB fleet with the UK MoD," said Micael Johansson, head of Saab business area Electronic Defense Systems, who added that the contract will commence later this year and last until 2018. "We are looking forward to supporting both potential mission deployments and further system evolutions based on our spiral development plan for Giraffe."
The radars are part of extensive upgrades to the overall military infrastructure on the islands. Earlier this year the U.K. government asked Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and Saab to bid on a new battle management system that will be installed on the island in 2016. A $350 million deal was also made with defense manufacturer MBDA to build a new missile defense system.
The United Kingdom went to war with Argentina over the islands in 1982 after the military regime in Buenos Aries invaded. Following more than two months of naval warfare that resulted in the death of nearly 1,000 troops, Argentina surrendered. The sovereignty over the islands, which Argentina recognizes as the Malvinas Islands, has been a diplomatic issue ever since.