A Royal Navy ship in Plymouth
A Royal Navy ship in Plymouth

A Royal Navy warship has been deployed to the Falkland Islands in a move seen as straining an already tense relationship with Argentina just months before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.

The Dauntless, considered one of the most innovative anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic ships in the world, will replace a frigate currently based in the South Atlantic.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence claimed the deployment had nothing to do with increasing tensions between the UK and Argentina about the Falkland Islands.

"The Royal Navy has had a continuous presence in the South Atlantic for many years," said a Royal Navy spokesman. "The deployment of HMS Dauntless to the South Atlantic has been long planned, is entirely routine and replaces another ship on patrol."

But a Navy source told the Daily Telegraph that the Dauntless' missiles could "take out all of South America's fighter aircraft let alone Argentina's".

Another source said the ship could shoot down Argentinian fighter jets as soon as they took off from their bases.

"This will give Buenos Aires serious pause for thought," he warned.

Argentina moved recently on the 30-year old row with the UK by banning all Falkland-registered ships from its ports.

Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that the sovereignty of the islands is not for negotiation.