divendres, 6 de juliol de 2012

Incheon Class Frigates / Future Frigate Experimental (FFX)*



Future Frigate eXperimental (FFX) or Incheon Class frigates are new coastal defence frigates being developed for the Republic of Korea Navy. The ships will be built by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).

The Incheon Class frigates can be deployed in multirole operations such as coast patrol, anti-submarine warfare and transport support.

The Republic of Korea Navy placed an order with Hyundai Heavy Industries for the construction of the first FFX vessel in December 2008. The lead ship in class, Incheon, was launched in April 2011. The frigate is expected to be delivered by the end of 2012.

Future Frigate eXperimental (FFX) programme


The FFX programme is intended to replace the ageing fleet of Ulsan Class frigates and Pohang Class corvettes with next generation multimission frigates. The new frigates will be equipped with anti-air defence and helicopter landing capabilities.

The FFX vessels will be built in two batches with an objective of putting up to 15 ships into service by 2020. The first ship of the second batch will be built by DSME.

RENK and Rolls-Royce were contracted to supply the propulsion systems respectively for the first and second batches.

Design features of Incheon Class vessels

The Incheon Class frigate incorporates a stealth hull design to reduce acoustic and infrared signatures. The vessel has an overall length of 114m, width of 14m and a depth of 25m. The standard displacement of the ship is 2,300t. It can accommodate a crew of 145 to 170.

Command and control of FFX frigates

The command and control system of the FFX is the Samsung Thales NS ICMS (Naval Shield Integrated Combat Management System). The combat system integrates the onboard sensors, weapons and fire control systems.

It performs target detection, tracking, threat assessment and weapon control functions simultaneously for conducting efficient combat operations in various engagement scenarios.

Incheon Class weapon systems

The Incheon Class is armed with a SSM-700K Hae Sung (Sea Star) long-range anti-ship missile. The Hae Sung can strike targets within a range of 150km. The Hyunmoo IIIC cruise missiles fitted on the frigate offer a land attack capability to the Incheon Class.
 
The main gun fitted forward is the 127mm/L62 Mk 45 Mod 4 naval gun. The gun can fire 16 to 20 rounds a minute to an effective range of 24km. The close-point defence is provided by a Phalanx 20mm CIWS (close-in weapon system) and RIM-116B Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) 21-round launcher.

An Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability is provided by K745 Chung Sang Eo (Blue Shark) torpedoes. The Blue Shark can attack submarines located within a range of 19km.

Sensors / radars and countermeasures

The sensor suite consists of tracking radar, navigation radar, Thales Smart-S Mk2 Smart-S Mk2 3D medium to long-range surveillance radar, sonar, identification friend or foe (IFF) system and long-range electro-optical targeting system (EOTS).

The countermeasures are provided by a LIG Nex1 SLQ-200K Sonata electronic warfare suite and a KDAGAIE Mk2 decoy launching system.

Helicopter handling system of Incheon Class frigates

The FFX frigates have an aft helicopter deck to support the operations of a Super Lynx or SH-60 Seahawk helicopter. The frigate is equipped with an enclosed hangar facility to accommodate up to two medium-lift helicopters.

Propulsion of the South Korean vessels

The first batch of FFX frigates are powered by RENK CODOG (combined diesel or gas turbine) propulsion systems.

The propulsion units are supplied by DOOSAN Heavy Industries, the prime contractor of the propulsion gear for the FFX. Each vessel in the second batch will be equipped with a single MT30 gas turbine delivering a power output of 36MW to 40MW. MT30 is the most powerful marine gas turbine in the world.

The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 30kt and a cruising range of about 8,000km to the Incheon Class frigates.

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Corea del Sud manté l'esforç en la renovació de les seves forces. Malgrat una perspectiva de pacificació ( a llarg termini) amb Corea del Nord, sap que només una dissuasió militar creïble pot minimitzar les possibilitats d'esclat d'un conflicte.

dimecres, 4 de juliol de 2012

Taiwan Retires 20 Fast Attack Missile Boats*



TAIPEI — Taiwan decommissioned the last 20 of a fleet of aging missile boats on July 1 as part of ongoing efforts to modernize its military forces against former rival China, officials said.

The navy bid farewell to the 50-ton Seagull-class missile boats during a ceremony held in the southern Tsoying naval base, more than three decades after they had been put into service.

The Taiwanese navy first built the missile boats, reportedly an imitation of Israel’s Dvora-class patrol boats, in the late 1970s and later mass produced them in the early 1980s.

The navy had thought the fleet, numbering around 50, would act as “hit and run” boats should a conflict break out in the Taiwan Strait.

With a maximum speed of 74 kilometers (46 miles) per hour, each of the boats was armed with Hsiungfeng I (Brave Wind I) ship-to-ship missiles.

The Seagull boats have now been replaced by 30 missile boats built under the so-called “Kuang Hwa No 6 Project” launched in 2000.

Each of the 171-ton vessels is armed with four Hsiungfeng II missiles, an improved version of the Hsiungfeng I.

Ties between Taiwan and China have eased markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008, ramping up trade and allowing in more Chinese tourists.

But Beijing still refuses to renounce the use of force, even though Taiwan has been self-governing since the end of a civil war in 1949, prompting the island to continue to modernize its defense forces.

* Notícia publicada a Defence News. La modernització de la flota taiwanesa continua; sense dubte l'aposta per la qualitat és una de les poques vies que Taiwan té per mantenir l'statu quo amb la Xina.

America’s ‘Great Green Fleet’*



On June 27 a multinational fleet took to the seas off Hawaii for the biennial RIMPAC, or “Rim of the Pacific,” naval maneuvers. The U.S. Navy dubbed its contingent the “Great Green Fleet.” No, sailors haven’t been slathering garish green paint over the haze gray that traditionally festoons American hulls. Rather, dubbing it the Great Green Fleet showcases Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’s “biofuels” initiative. The RIMPAC fleet and aircraft will burn a mix of biofuels and conventional marine fuels to demonstrate biofuels’ viability. Assuming there’s enough market demand for propellants derived from biomass to drive down their sky-high price, substituting them for conventional fossil fuels will help the navy offset costly price swings. It will also help ease the fleet’s and the nation’s dependency on imported petroleum.

The Great Green Fleet’s nickname draws a not-so-veiled allusion to Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, the sixteen-battleship force that circumnavigated the globe just over a century ago (1907-1909). Sixteen battlewagons represented the navy’s entire complement, apart from those laid up in extended overhaul. As Roosevelt proclaimed, dispatching the battle line far from North America constituted a “striking thing.” Grouping RIMPAC with the world cruise thus rates top marks as an effort at branding. But is it good history? It never hurts to pay historical metaphors close scrutiny before embracing them. The best rule is: let the buyer beware.

On the positive side of the ledger, the Great Green Fleet moniker conjures up a legendary president who also happened to be a noted naval historian and former assistant secretary of the navy. Roosevelt was a hands-on leader. Even while occupying the Oval Office, he found time to hold forth on the minutiae of ship design. In 1908, the president famously sailed from his home on Long Island across to Newport, Rhode Island, to chair a Battleship Conference at the Naval War College. Conference attendees evaluated dispatches sent home from the Great White Fleet and recommended design improvements. U.S. battleships underwent significant modifications following the world cruise, owing in large part to presidential intervention.

An outdoorsman and ardent conservationist, furthermore, Roosevelt may well have approved of a biofuels initiative had the technology of his day permitted such a thing. He seldom shrank from voicing strong views on such matters—or from trying to put them into practice. That’s a legacy worth associating oneself with.
On the negative side, we can take issue with the assumptions behind the Great Green Fleet metaphor. Last year Secretary Mabus proclaimed, “In history, the Navy has always led in changing fuel types. We went from sail to coal in the 1850s. We went from coal to oil in the early part of the 20th century, and we pioneered nuclear in the 1950s. And we’re going to lead once again by establishing a market, by helping establish a market for biofuels now.” Likening the RIMPAC fleet to the Great White Fleet implies that Roosevelt’s battle line stood at the technological forefront for its day—and that a biofuels-powered navy is heir to that grand tradition.

The age of Roosevelt certainly added luster to the U.S. Navy’s reputation, but let’s not get too swept away with the Great White Fleet’s exploits. In fact, the navy was a follower—not a leader—in propulsion and fuels, at least until the nuclear revolution that followed World War II. Nor did it create markets for sails, coal, or oil the way Secretary Mabus hopes to generate demand for biofuels. Civilian industry and rival seafaring nations led the way.

Indeed, the United States was a relative laggard in maritime technology until after World War I. Both Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote works of maritime history aimed at clearing away what Mahan called the “dead apathy” that stifled the naval service following the American Civil War. The fleet dwindled to about fifty rickety wooden vessels by the late 1870s, leaving the U.S. Navy distinctly inferior to the likes of the battleship-armed Chilean Navy. Only in 1883, well after other seagoing nations had made the shift, did Congress authorize the navy’s first armored steamships.

By no means, then, were Roosevelt’s battleship fleet and its retinue of escorts at the engineering vanguard. The Great White Fleet of legend was somewhat different from the real force. Its ships were “pre-dreadnoughts,” driven by coal-fired boilers and ungainly reciprocating steam engines. In 1906, Great Britain’s Royal Navy stole a march on its competitors by commissioning HMS Dreadnought, the world’s first all-big-gun battlewagon. The Dreadnought was also the first capital ship propelled by oil-fired boilers and steam turbines. These innovations granted the Royal Navy battle line not only a heavier broadside but a significant speed advantage over older generations of warships—including those comprising the Great White Fleet.

This is no knock on American technical prowess. For Britons, necessity was the mother of invention. Engineering ingenuity, the fact that German shipwrights were bolting together a “peer” fleet across the North Sea, and the bullheaded determination of First Sea Lord Jacky Fisher, Britain’s top uniformed naval officer, impelled the Royal Navy to preserve its lead in propulsion technology. The German High Seas Fleet quickly joined the dreadnought race, while the U.S. Navy remained somewhat behind. The first all-big-gun U.S. battleships entered service in 1910. The main battery on board the coal-fired USS South Carolina matched the Dreadnought for firepower, but the speed disadvantage persisted. That same year—a year after the Great White Fleet returned to port—the Delaware-class battlewagons, America’s first true dreadnoughts, finally joined the fleet.

What about nuclear propulsion, certainly a frontier tamed by Americans? Biofuels enthusiasts should temper their enthusiasm for the nuclear precedent. If the goal of U.S. Navy engineering innovation is to develop affordable fuels and propulsion plants, nuclear power has never completely fulfilled its promise.

The operational virtues of nuclear power are many, including nearly limitless range and endurance at sea. But nuclear plants don’t come cheap. At one time the fleet included not just nuclear-propelled aircraft carriers and submarines but also surface combatants. But the upfront costs of nuclear-propelled warships proved so steep that the navy gave up installing nuclear plants in cruisers, let alone destroyers and lesser men-of-war, long ago. The last nuclear-powered cruisers met their doom in the 1990s because refueling them—which requires an extensive shipyard overhaul—was too expensive. The partial nuclear revolution is a dubious precedent for those who tout the future affordability of biofuels.

And finally, there’s the matter of messaging. Theodore Roosevelt had both domestic and foreign audiences in mind for the Great White Fleet’s endeavors. In his memoir he recalled that his “prime purpose” for dispatching the fleet was “to impress the American people” with the U.S. Navy’s skill and élan. But Roosevelt also tailored his message to foreign observers. The fleet’s white color scheme signified its diplomatic purpose. South American crowds and officials greeted U.S. mariners warmly as they made port calls on the outbound leg of the cruise.

More to the point, the president wanted to show an ambitious Japan that it could never do to the U.S. Navy what it had done to the Russian Navy shortly before, during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Two Russian fleets lay strewn across the Yellow Sea floor following the short, sharp clash between Russia and Japan. Most strikingly, the Baltic Fleet met its end at Tsushima Strait after cruising some 18,000 miles from the Baltic, around the Cape of Good Hope, through the Indian Ocean, and into Far Eastern waters. After the epic voyage, and with no chance for shipyard upkeep before battle, Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky’s force was in no state to take on Admiral Tōgō Heihachirō’s combat-hardened, freshly refitted Combined Fleet. The results were grim—and predictable.

Japanese war plans envisioned staging a new Tsushima should Japan ever come to blows with the United States. Roosevelt meant to prove to Tokyo that the U.S. Navy could accomplish what Rozhestvensky could not. It could surge across thousands of miles of ocean and arrive on station in fighting trim, most likely to defend the Philippine Islands. Roosevelt saw debunking the Tsushima model as essential to preserving the naval balance—and thus the peace—in East Asia.

If the audiences for the Great White Fleet were both foreign and domestic, the audience for the Great Green Fleet is almost purely domestic—and the message RIMPAC transmits to that audience is modest by contrast. Selling people on a propellant that drives ships through the water or warplanes through the air is far less ambitious than firing enthusiasm for the navy among a landward-facing populace. Chances are the Great Green Fleet will achieve fewer PR gains than its illustrious namesake.

What about foreign audiences? Today’s closest counterpart to Imperial Japan, China, already knows U.S. naval forces can reach East Asia. The U.S. Seventh Fleet has been forward-deployed there for decades. Task forces of various types routinely steam back and forth between American seaports and the region. What excited national pride in Roosevelt’s era has long been workaday routine. At most RIMPAC puts allies, prospective adversaries, and bystanders on notice that U.S. forces can operate in Asia more cheaply and sustainably than in the past. But again, that’s a rather nondescript message to send compared to the hooplah that surrounded the Great White Fleet.

In the end, there are no perfect historical analogies. Great Green Fleet it is. Let’s just keep the comparison in perspective.

 James Holmes is an associate professor of strategy at the US Naval War College and the author of Theodore Roosevelt and World Order: Police Power in International Relations. The views voiced here are his alone.

* Anàlisi publicat a The Diplomat. Com sempre, les reflexions del professor Holmes són d'allò més interessants. La seva forma d'enllaçar Història, tecnologia i estratègia el converteixen en una lectura obligatòria per totes aquelles persones interessades en afers navals.

Brazilian Navy receives first OPV from BAE*



The Brazilian Navy has taken delivery of the first of three ocean patrol vessels (OPVs) from BAE Systems at Portsmouth Naval Base, US, in support of navy's Prosuper fleet modernisation programme.

Delivery is part of the Brazilian Navy's $186m deal with BAE for the purchase of three OPVs, originally built by BAE for the Trinidad and Tobago coast guard to perform intercepting and emergency relief operations in the Caribbean region.

In addition to providing three already-built 90m-long, 2,200t OPVs, the deal includes an additional £13m for training and support by BAE with an option to locally build another five OPVs to the Brazilian Navy.

BAE Systems's naval ships business managing director Mick Ord said: "The handover of the first ship marks both a significant stage in the programme and the close working relationship we are forming with Brazil.

"I am sure these highly capable vessels will be a great asset to the Brazilian Navy."
 
Capable of carrying a crew of 70, with additional accommodation for 50 troops or passengers, the vessel features a helicopter flight deck, 30mm and 25mm cannons and can cruise at a speed of 25k when fully loaded.

The deal was originally signed in 2007 for the construction of three OPVs and supported by the UK Government, but was cancelled in September 2010 over delays relating to delivery timelines.

The second and third vessels are scheduled for delivery to the Brazilian Navy in December 2012 and 2013 respectively.

The Brazilian Navy fleet modernisation programme also involves acquisition of five frigate-class boats and one support ship.

* Notícia publicada a Naval Technology. La renovació de l'Armada brasilera, amb l'aposta per patrulleres polivalents, sembla avançar per una perspectiva realista de les pròpies necessitats.

diumenge, 1 de juliol de 2012

El tràfic de vehicles d'exportació creix prop d'un 12% fins el mes de maig*

L’embarcament de vehicles d’exportació ha crescut un 11,77% durant els cinc primers mesos de l’any, confirmant la orientació cap els mercats internacionals que està realitzant els fabricants espanyols. Entre gener i maig el Port va canalitzar 187.061 automòbils cap a l’exterior.
Fins al mes de maig el tràfic total del Port (que inclou tot tipus de mercaderia transportada) ha arribat als 17,5 milions de tones, xifra que representa una disminució del 6,78% respecte al mateix període de l’any anterior. El volum total de contenidors transportats s’ha situat en 697.522 TEU, un 21,5% menys en comparació als mateixos mesos de 2011, reducció deguda principalment als contenidors de trànsit, que baixen un 37,71%, mentre que el tràfic amb el hinterland es manté estable. Té un comportament positiu el tràfic de contenidors plens d’exportació, que ha crescut un 2,40% durant els cinc primers mesos del 2012. 

Altres tràfics amb increments destacables són els granels sòlids, que han sumat 1.916.625 tones, la qual cosa representa una pujada del 41,61%, gràcies als augments del tràfic de ciment i clínquer destinat a l’exportació, i al tràfic de cereals i farines. Els granels líquids que no pertanyen als hidrocarburs (biocombustibles, olis i greixos, etc.) també s’han incrementat un 22,42% durant aquest període.

El tràfic ferroviari ha tingut una evolució positiva, tant en contenidors com en vehicles. Entre gener i maig d’enguany, 44.354 TEU han utilitzat el mode ferroviari al Port, la qual cosa significa un increment del 6,57% respecte al mateix període del 2011. Els cinc primer mesos de l’any, 77.077 vehicles han arribat o sortit del Port en ferrocarril, un 13,41% més que l’any anterior. Destaca l’operativa amb la factoria de SEAT a Martorell, que de gener a maig ha transportat 46.262 automòbils fins al Port, amb un increment del 29,18%.

* Notícia publicada al web del Port de Barcelona. Celebrem les bones xifres de les exportacions, que afortunadament es mantenen en creixement. Un fet gents menyspreable en la siutació dramàtica de l'economia al nostre país.

Eilat Class, Israel*

In the early 1980s, the Israeli Navy awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (formerly Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding) to supply three Sa'ar 5 Classcorvettes for the Israeli Navy. The first of class, INS Eilat, was launched in February 1993, followed by INS Lahav in August 1993 and INS Hanit in March 1994.



In July 2006, while taking part in the Israeli Navy blockade of Lebanese ports, INS Hanit was struck by an anti-ship missile fired by Hezbullah. Four crew members were killed. A fire resulted from the attack and the ship was able to return to Ashdod port under its own power. Following repairs, the vessel was reported to have resumed its combat role in August 2006.

Command and control systems

The unified combat system is integrated by IAI (Israel Aircraft Industries) MBT division, with Elbit (combat data systems) and Tadiran (communications systems) as major subcontractors. The ship's combat system provides multiple offensive and defensive capabilities. Target, weapon status, and threat evaluation information is available to all fire control and launcher systems via the ship's databus.



El-Op's MSIS electro-optic surveillance and fire control system is fitted on the Eilat, which contains an 8–12-micron thermal imager, TV camera and laser rangefinder. El-Op received a contract in January 2003 to upgrade the MSIS. The upgraded system will include a new third-generation thermal imager with increased sensitivity and resolution.

Barak and harpoon missiles

The ship's anti-air capability is based on the Barak missile system developed by IAI and Rafael. Two 32-cell vertical launch systems are installed on the raised gun deck at the bow of the ship. The range of the Barak missile is 10km and it is armed with a 22kg warhead. It also has an anti-surface target capability.



The ship has two four-cell Boeing Harpoon missile launchers. The Harpoon surface-to-surface missile has a range of up to 130km. The speed is high subsonic and the warhead weighs 227kg.
The ship's short to medium-range anti-ship missile is the IAI Gabriel II. There are eight launchers for the Gabriel II missile which uses dual mode semi-active and active radar homing with a 100kg warhead. The range is from 6km to 36km and missile velocity is 0.6 Mach.

Guns

The ship is equipped either a Raytheon / General Dynamics mk15 Phalanx close-in weapon system (CIWS) or Oto Melara 76mm gun.

Phalanx has a 20mm gun which can fire at 3,000 rounds/min and Ku-band search and tracking radar. Range is 1.5km.

Alliant Techsystems mk46 torpedoes

The ship is fitted with six 324mm mk32 torpedo tubes for ATK (Alliant Techsystems) mk46 torpedoes which have active and passive homing. They are armed with a 44kg warhead and range is 24km. The launch tubes are mounted in the superstructure about halfway along the length of the ship.



Helicopter

Airborne anti-submarine warfare capability is provided by the ship's helicopter. The ship's helicopter hangar can accommodate an AS565 Panther, Kaman SH-2F or Sikorsky S-76N helicopter.

Countermeasures

Countermeasures include the AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy system from Argon ST of Fairfax, Virginia, which seduces approaching torpedoes away from the ship. The Sa'ar 5 corvette's radar warning receiver Elisra NS-9003/9005 is also installed on the Israeli Navy Sa'ar 4 and Sa'ar 4.5 patrol craft. Three Elbit Deseaver stabilised chaff rocket launchers are mounted on the forward and aft towers.

Eilat vessels are fitted with the Rafael Wizard (wideband zapping anti-radar decoy) passive RF corner reflector decoy system, effective against anti-ship missiles with chaff discrimination algorithms.

Sensor suite

The air search radar antenna is installed on the aft tower. The Elta EL/M-2218S air search radar operates in E/F bands. The 2D/3D radar antenna, the fire control director and the I-band navigation radar antenna are installed on the forward tower. The fire control radar is the I/J/K-band EL/M-2221 GM STGR from Elta.
The Sa'ar is equipped with type 796 hull-mounted search-and-attack sonar, which operates at medium frequency and is supplied by EDO of New York. The ship's towed sonar array is supplied by Rafael.

Propulsion system
 
The ship's propulsion system is in a CODOG combined diesel or gas configuration. The two MTU 12V 1163 TB82 diesel engines are rated at 6,600hp. The GE LM 2500 gas turbine system is cross-connected and provides 30,000hp. The propulsion system drives two shafts.


The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 33kt. The cruise speed on the diesel engines is 20kt and the endurance is 4,000 nautical miles. A large twin rudder provides manoeuvrability at high speed and controllable reversible pitch (CRP) propellers at low speed.

* Article publicat a Naval Technology. Les naus de la marina israelianes, tot i no ser tant conegudes com l'aviació o els vehicles blindats, són tot un exemple d'alta tecnologia adaptada a les necessitats.

HMS Diamond exercises with her French counterpart*

he Type 45 destroyer took part in a series of exercises with the FS Forbin, a French Horizon class destroyer which looks similar to the Royal Navy’s brand new fleet of ships. 

 
Originally conceived under the same project that envisaged a single design for the British, French and Italians Navies, the UK subsequently decided to pursue its own design, the Type 45, but there are still many similarities between the two.


HMS Diamond met up with the FS Forbin while on her way to the Middle East where she will be working to protect the seas, keeping them safe for international trade.


As specialist air defence platforms, both ships engaged in exercises that saw them defend themselves against attacking jets flown from the French aircraft carrier, FS Charles de Gaulle.



This scenario reflected what both HMS Diamond and FS Forbin are primarily designed to deal with if they were escorting a task group of warships, and it allowed them to engage with multiple aircraft and simulated missile runs.




Captain Marc Assedat, the Commanding Officer of the Forbin said:
"Speaking openly and sharing each other’s experiences strengthens our confidence.”
 
Having left her home port of Portsmouth on 13 June and already called in at Gibraltar, Diamond continues to the Middle East, where she will take on her operational duties from her sister ship, HMS Daring, protecting UK interests in the region.

* Notícia publicada al web de la Royal Navy. El nivell de les marines britàniques no és només una qüestió de tecnologia i tradició, ambdúes mantenen exercicis conjunts amb regularitat per fer front a tot tipus d'amenaces.

Not so neutral after all: Ronald Reagan made secret plans to loan U.S. warship to Britain if aircraft carrier was lost during Falklands War *

Ronald Reagan made secret plans to loan Britain a U.S. warship if she lost an aircraft carrier during the Falklands War, it has emerged.

The then-president was prepared to support Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher despite the U.S. being officially neutral during the 1982 conflict.

The stunning revelation was made by John Lehman, the former U.S. Secretary of the Navy, to the U.S. Naval Institute on Tuesday.

Mr Reagan would have loaned Britain the use of the amphibious warship USS Iwo Jima should harm have come to either HMS Invincible or HMS Hermes, which the Royal Navy had deployed to defend the islands from Argentinian forces.

Close ties: Ronald Reagan made secret plans to loan Margaret Thatcher a U.S. warship if Britain lost an aircraft carrier during the Falklands War, it has emerged
Close ties: Ronald Reagan made secret plans to loan Margaret Thatcher a U.S. warship if Britain lost an aircraft carrier during the Falklands War, it has emerged

Loan: Mr Reagan would have handed Britain the use of the amphibious warship USS Iwo Jima (pictured) should harm have come to either HMS Invincible or HMS Hermes, which the Royal Navy had deployed the Falklands
Loan: Mr Reagan would have handed Britain the use of the amphibious warship USS Iwo Jima (pictured) should harm have come to either HMS Invincible or HMS Hermes, which the Royal Navy had deployed to the Falklands

Mr Lehman said that he formulated the plans to stand behind Mrs Thatcher with Secretary of Defence Caspar Weinberger following a British request.
Mr Reagan is said to have approved their proposal without hesitation, telling Mr Lehman: 'Give Maggie everything she needs to get on with it.'
The plans were put together in complete secrecy.
 

Mr Lehman said: 'We would leave the State Department, except for [Secretary of State Al] Haig, out of it.

'As in most of the requests from the Brits at the time, it was an informal request on a "what if" basis, Navy to Navy.'

Both HMS Invincible or HMS Hermes were equipped to handle five vertical take-off Sea Harriers armed with American Sidewinder missiles.

HMS Invincible was one of two aircraft carriers deployed to defend the Falklands from Argentinian forces. She was decommissioned in 2005
HMS Invincible was one of two aircraft carriers deployed to defend the Falklands from Argentinian forces. She was decommissioned in 2005

Royal Marines take part in an exercise aboard HMS Hermes during the Falklands conflict
Royal Marines take part in an exercise aboard HMS Hermes during the Falklands conflict

These specifications made the USS Iwo Jima an ideal replacement as, although primarily a helicopter carrier, it was able to operate the U.S. version of the Sea Harrier.
It is likely that the ship would have been manned by a mix of retired seamen and privately contracted Americans familiar with the ship's operating systems.

Admiral James 'Ace' Lyson, commander of the U.S. Second Fleet in 1982, helped plan the possible deployment of a U.S. ship in the South Atlantic.

Now retired, he said: 'We decided that the USS Iwo Jima would be the ship that would be the easiest for the British to operate and would make for a smooth transfer.

'We also identified "contract advisors" who would be on board to help the British with some of the systems.'

The revelation comes as diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina reach their lowest point since the war.

Falkland residents have announced plans for a referendum next year in an attempt to fend off Argentinian claims to the territory, which have become more vocal around the 30th anniversary of the conflict.

Last week, David Cameron was involved in an extraordinary stand-up row with Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner over the future of the Falkands.

The South American leader appeared to attempt to thrust a package stuffed with documents about her country’s claim to the British territory into Mr Cameron’s hands at the G20 summit in Mexico.

To her fury, the Prime Minister refused to accept it – and insisted that she respect the views of the islanders, who want to remain British.


* Notícia publicada al Daily Mail. Revelacions absolutament interessants en el 30è aniversari de la Guerra de les Falkland.