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HMS Dauntless Sets Sail For Falkland Islands (PHOTOS)

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HMS DAUNTLESS
HMS Dauntless leaving Portsmouth | PA

HMS Dauntless, the Royal Navy's most advanced destroyer, has set sail from Portsmouth to patrol the waters around the Falkland Islands.

The ship's deployment has angered Argentina which accused Britain of militarising the South Atlantic as it ramped up the pressure over the sovereignty of the Falklands.

The Royal Navy has insisted that the ship is on a routine mission and is simply replacing the frigate that is currently on patrol.

HMS Dauntless, a type 45 destroyer, the £1billion ship is the RN's latest piece of kit, designed to provide an air defence shield for an entire task force.

The 152 metre-long vessel (it's the length of 16 double decker buses) is considered one of the most advanced air defence warships in the global theatre, boasting the Sea Viper missile system, described by the Ministry of Defence as “the punch of the type 45”.

Sea Viper's strike capability has a range of up to 70 miles, while the highly maneuverable missiles, which travel at speeds in excess of Mach four, can knock drones, aircraft or even other missiles from the air, guided to their target by the Samson radar - the large top on the ship’s distinctive tall mast.

Defences also include a 4.5-inch gun on the forecastle (the forward part of the upper deck), which can fire 24, 80lbs high explosives with a range of around 12 miles for bombarding shore or sea targets, as well as two 30mm calibre guns amidships and a radar-controlled Gatling gun.

The destroyer's shape is designed to reduce its radar signature, making it appear no bigger than a trawler on an enemy's screen, while the complement of 190 British sailors travel in relative comfort, with six to a cabin and iPad chargers.

April 2 marked the 30th anniversary of the war between Britain and Argentina over the islands, which eventually saw Argentinian troops expelled from the territory.

On Monday Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner used the commemorations to make a renewed push to wrest back control of the islands, describing Britain's stance as "ridiculous and absurd".

"It is unjust that, in the 21st century, there are still colonial enclaves such as the one we have here a few kilometres away. There are only 16 such colonial enclaves in the world, 10 of which are British," she said.

And London condemned violence that saw protesters attack the British Embassy in Buenos Aires. Several hundred demonstrators pelted police officers with homemade fire-bombs and threw rocks and flaming bottles towards the embassy as a series of events were held in both Argentina and the UK to commemorate the 1982 conflict.

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