All the Falklands needs is (3 small ?) ships to put off the Argies by suggesting it will be a war not a free annexation.
The RN was downsizing loads in the 70/80s and selling off/scraping lots of ships so you have a good choice of hulls to modernise.
So would it not make more sense to use the Type 12M Rothesay /Type 81 Tribal/Type 41 Leopard/Type 61 Salisbury ? or County-class destroyers or Leander-class?
I would want the following,
- I would go for diesels/turbines over steam and newer so less cost to run/man.
- Do you need a hangar (if you are going to be close to the FI airports ? would it not be cheaper to base a flight of Seakings ashore for ASW/rescue/trop movement ?)
- Cut costs (don't really need to be ready to fight the USSR to deter Argentina
) All I think you need is a OPV with a medium gun to start shooting with and then use a flight of fighter lunched Excocet to kill the invasion convoy and or C130s ? you need them to defend the FI airspace anyway so why not multi role them ? say 4-8 phantoms (or more reasonably older 2nd hand stuff not needed in Europe, hunters ? will still mess up any invasion force in OTL the FI garrison had a few hrs to get ready with 8 aircraft up the Argentineans in RIB's are in big trouble
) if you have a runway for them ! but with some 50-60,000 pop you will have a much bigger airport so will be ok
Option 1 - Cheap type 12L/12M/41/61/81 modification. cant decide witch one I would use (they all have problems with them (81-designed for calm water ! Not realy FI
/ 41,61 small and slow but cheaper to run and better in big storms) but 3 (2 on station down south) would put off the Argentineans). I would cut down to 1 twin gun and fit minimum Excocet anti-ship missile and SeaWolf anti-air missile, no helicopter (just use shore based ones so maybe fit a pad for resupply).
Option 2 - Probably better to modify 12M Rothesay or 12L Leader class this would be the newest class and might be available from the RN (Mod the same a option 1 but faster/ newer hulls).
Option 3 - County-class destroyer ( 4 sold to Chile in 80s ).
The expensive (but powerful) Option, take the Batch 2's with 1 4.5 twin, Excocet anti-ship missile and SeaWolf anti-air missile in place of SeaCat & SeaSlug and fit a real hangar for Sea King !
This option is the best if you have the cash and the hulls are much younger (All eight of the class had short Royal Navy careers, serving on average less than 16 years) than anything else so will be worth upgrading and you have space for more added kit.
PS - with 50-60k pop (I think you need more of a pull other than a base in the middle of nowhere ie Oil/etc ?) you can easily have a much larger FIDI (say a RM reserve Commando of 600-700 men (+ light tanks/APC's ?) ? this will make it a much harder job to invaded, it would require much larger sea lift in first wave, not 80 man in RIBs! so I can't see it happening unless Argentina buys loads more amphibious ships but that will stand out to much to be missed). Politically with 700+ men its going to start with a big hard battle so UK will have to respond rather than just accept it (to much lose of face will raise questions about the cold war commitments and the Argentineans will know this so will not start anything, or invade Chile instead