Article by John-Paul Tooth
 
The Falkland Islands are one of the UK's most isolated overseas territories and the home to one of the most remote military garrisons. 
 
Getting people and equipment there is difficult, with all deliveries having to be flown or shipped in (click above to find out more about how it's done). 
 
And as a British Overseas Territory, the people of the islands rely on Britain to guarantee their security.
 
Tasked with this crucial job is the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI), staffed by over 1,000 personnel from all three services, which also protects South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
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The flag of the BFSAI
 
After the end of the Falklands War in 1982, Britain invested heavily in the islands' defences, including constructing a new airfield at RAF Mount Pleasant, 27 miles (43 km) west of the capital, Stanley.
 
The base became fully operational in 1986 after being opened the previous year. Stationed there are the four Typhoon jets that provide air defence for the islands and surrounding territories.
 
There's also one C-130 Hercules and one Voyager aircraft, which are used for transport and air-to-air refuelling. Two Sea King helicopters were used since the base's opening to undertake air transport and search and rescue missions.
 
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RAF Mount Pleasant. Picture: Donald Morrison
 
These duties were taken over by AW189 helicopters in April however, flown by AAR Corp, after the MoD awarded the company a 10-year, £180 million contract to do so.
 
Britain also announced last year that a pair of Chinooks are to be stationed in the Falklands again.
 
 
The British Army, meanwhile, has a garrison at Mount Pleasant, staffed by around 1,200 personnel, including 11 bomb disposal experts.
 
The Royal Navy contribution is made up of a frigate or guided missile destroyer alongside an RFA vessel in the South Atlantic and a patrol ship permanently close to the islands - currently HMS Clyde.
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HMS Clyde exercising off the Falklands
 
An Ice Patrol Ship, HMS Protector, is also on station close to Antarctica for half of the year. Ships can dock at RAF Mount Pleasant's port facility, Mare Harbour.
 
The Royal Navy also has Trafalgar and Astute-class nuclear submarines, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, which can be deployed to the area - although the details of these deployments are classified. 
 
The submarines can hit targets up to 1,500 miles (2,400 km) away, including those within an enemy country. Their capability was demonstrated during the Falklands War, when HMS Conqueror sank the Argentine cruiser ARA General Belgrano. 
 
 
Also integrated into the defence system for the islands is their part-time volunteer force, the Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF), a company-strength light infantry force
 
The FIDF receives constant training from a Warrant Officer seconded from the Royal Marines, and has been trained by the Royal Navy to operate the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon and to board vessels suspected of fishery poaching.
 

More - Margaret Thatcher's Secret Falklands Guilt

 

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