ARGENTINA are set to buy a £40million warship from the US at the same time the Royal Navy are about to decommission a similar vessel.
The Landing Platform Dock Vessel is capable of hosting 800 troops, six helicopters and 2,000 tons of equipment, and could be used in operations such as invading the Falklands.
Officials from the US Department of Defense at The Pentagon confirmed that negotiations with Buenos Aires were ongoing, reported The Mail on Sunday.
The Royal Navy is preparing to withdraw HMS Ocean from active service as part of the government’s cost-cutting drive.
Admiral Lord West, former head of the Navy, said: “At a time when the Argentine government still refuses to accept that UK sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is not up for discussion, I would prefer if our friends such as the United States did not sell them a landing ship capable of launching helicopters and large numbers of troops.
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“Such a ship is an offensive weapon, and could play a significant role as part of an invading force. It is more unfortunate that this is happening as we are about to lose HMS Ocean from service without a direct replacement.”
While the deal is still being discussed by both parties, US vice president Mike Pence visited Argentina last month and is understood to be receptive to the idea.
It is thought the ship Buenos Aires are interested in buying is the USS Ponce, which is due to be decommissioned in 2018.
A deal is expected to be agreed over the next few months.
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