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Britain has signed a new deal to acquire ground-based air defence missiles to replace its ageing Rapier system. The deal signed by the U.K. Defence Ministry and European missile maker MBDA in December 2014, has more than what meets the eye, with the U.K reportedly planning ito deploy it in Falklands to counter Argentina's fresh threat.

The details of the contract have not been made public. However, the spokeswoman of MoD confirmed that the deal is worth £228 million or US $343 million. She also said the MoD "anticipated the introduction of FLAADS into service towards by the end of the decade." The signing had been reportedly advanced in view of upcoming general election in May and to ward off the impact of a potentially heavy budget cut, reported Defense News .

Falklands Specific

WIth the first deployments of this truck-based missile system in the Falklands being a foregone conclusion, it will obviously bolster British air defence. In 1982, Argentina and the U.K. fought a short war over the British territory. The British effort to scale up air capabilities in the South Atlantic island is in direct response to Argentina efforts to upgrade its Air Force. Fresh tension has been brewing over Falklands, after Argentinean President Cristina Kirchener launched a diplomatic offensive in an effort to eject the British, added the report of Defense News.

According to Defence sources, the Flaads (L) will use the same MBDA common anti-air modular missile, which has been already ordered by the Royal Navy as part of the Sea Ceptor fitted to Type 23 frigates. The ongoing Flaads (L) assessment phase work will also take into account other parts of the ground-based requirement in terms of command and control, vehicle type and equipments for the land environment. Its demonstration already showed its flexibility for a vertical launch system mounted on a MAN truck.

So far Seawolf missiles have been the mainstay of Britain's Royal Navy for its use as the primary air defense system for Type 23 frigates. They are the updated versions of a missile used during the 1982 Falklands War. But new threats demand more sophisticated systems and Britain wants to equip its Type 26/27 Global Combat Ship frigate replacements. It also wants to use it as an option for raising the number of air defense missiles carried by Type 45 air defence destroyers.

Team Complex Weapons

It is expected that Britain's 10-year "Team Complex Weapons" partnership with MBDA will greatly boost the air defence systems. The new missile systems will be quad-packable, intermediate-range air defense missile with radar guidance, backed by a number of features and technologies derived from British fighter jets' AIM-132 ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missile. It will serve British ships and jack up as the Army air defense missile and can even fly on future British fighters, noted Defence Industry Daily.

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