Falklands Islands to be protected by £78m missile shield after Argentina signs contract to buy new fighter jets
British defence chiefs have bought a missile shield to protect the Falklands as Argentina bolsters its air force.
The Sky Sabre system, which uses the technology behind Israel’s pioneering Iron Dome mobile air defence system, is capable of intercepting short-range rockets and artillery shells and will strengthen air defences around the South Atlantic territory.
The cutting-edge kit uses radar to track missiles, then software to predict the rocket’s path before deploying an interceptor missile to blow up the enemy weapon mid-air.
The command-and-control network will update outdated systems already stationed on the long-disputed Falkland Islands.
Details of the deal came after Argentina signed a contract to buy five Super Etendard fighter jets from France.
Armed with Exocet missiles, the jet was flown by Argentinian pilots during the Falklands War.
Britain defends the islands with a force including Typhoon jets, an offshore patrol vessel, a ground-based air-defence system and some 1,000 troops.
In 2015 the then Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced the UK would spend £280m over the next 10 years on renewing and beefing up its defences.
This included replacing the Rapier air defence missiles when they go out of service towards the end of the decade.
The Sky Sabre system will replace it in 2020 and supply a key battlefield command-and-control network.
It is currently used to shield Israel from hundreds of rocket attacks.
The technology acts as ‘a brain’ which connects different objects such as radar stations, missile launchers and aircraft together.
This ‘command and control’ system can then be used to manage defences and launch attacks on the enemy if necessary.