Landing of RAF planes in Brazil en route to Falklands spark protests from Argentina

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters have made technical stops in Brazilian cities on their way to the archipelago in the south of the Atlantic

The Falklands War still causes uncomfortable situations between Argentina and the United Kingdom, 40 years after the end of the conflict in 1982.

The archipelago located at the southern end of the Atlantic Ocean has been under British control since then, but it requires a constant supply of materials and equipment for the approximately 3,500 inhabitants.

In addition, the UK Ministry of Defense maintains military deployments in order to defend the islands in the event of a new attack from Argentina.

For this reason, the presence of Royal Air Force aircraft in the region still causes protests from the Argentine government. That’s what happened in January when seven flights of planes, such as the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter, landed in the Falklands.

C-17 in Mount Pleasant (RAF)

But this time the flights had technical stops in cities in Brazil, which led the Argentine ambassador to the country to complain to the Bolsonaro government about the use of airports in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Porto Alegre.

Despite the Argentine protest, the Brazilian government denied any objection to granting authorization for RAF aircraft.

In a statement released on February 8, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “The Brazilian position of authorizing the overflight and landing of British military aircraft on the Falklands route is guided by the principle of not contributing to the modernization and expansion of military and the United Kingdom’s military potential in that archipelago.”

The United Kingdom, on the other hand, rejected claims that the flights could characterize an expansion of war power on the islands, saying that they are just routine flights.

RAF Typhoons over Falkland Islands (RAF)

LATAM commercial flight

In addition to military aircraft flights, the Falkland Islands were served by commercial flights operated by LATAM even before the pandemic. The airline maintained flights between Chile and Brazil to Mount Pleasant on a weekly basis.

Although it used the Boeing 767, the route served mainly to transport cargo to the inhabitants of the islands. The flight departing from São Paulo should resume in April this year.

Invasion was short lived

The Argentine occupation of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas for Argentines) began on 2 April 1982. Weeks later, the UK sent a task force to retake the islands and also other archipelagos in the region, the Sandwich Islands and South Georgia.

The war killed more than 900 people, most of them Argentinian, and ended on June 14 with a British victory. Despite this, Argentina is still demanding the return of the archipelago, which would have been taken over by the United Kingdom in 1833.

Since 1985, the RAF has maintained a detachment of aircraft for air defense and transport at Mount Pleasant. Currently, four Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, a Voyager aerial refueling aircraft (A330 MRTT) and an Airbus A400M cargo plane are based in the Falklands.

A Pucara aircraft destroyed by United Kingdom forces in the Falklands War (Petebutt)
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