Skip to comments.30 years ago today, one of the RAF’s greatest missions of all time: a long range surprise attack
Posted on 05/01/2012 5:26:36 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
30 years ago today, one of the RAFs greatest missions of all time: a long range surprise attack to the Falklands
April 30, 2012
At 22.30, on Apr. 30, 1982, the first engine of some 13 Hadley Page Victor K2 Tanker aircraft spooled into life and announced the start of one of the RAFs greatest missions of all time.
It all started a few weeks previously, when some Argentinean scrap metal merchants had claimed some remote British Islands called South Georgia in the name of Argentina. It culminated in General Leopold Galtiere invading the British dependency of the Falkland Islands and claiming them. Britainwas outraged and the Falkands Conflict began.
A naval Task Force was rapidly assembled and set sail fromPortsmouth and many other Naval bases. The task force comprised two carriers, the HMS Hermes and the new HMS Invincible, and a multitude of other destroyers, frigates and tankers that were called back from where ever they were worldwide and all set sail for the South Atlantic.
Rather conveniently, at around the halfway point to the Falkland Islands is the British dependency of Ascension Island, a volcanic outcrop right in the middle of the Atlantic fairly close to the equator.
The Island is dominated by a dormant volcano and an airstrip with an unusually long runway, built by the Americans as a divert runway for the Shuttle program. The sleepy airfield was about to become a lot more busier, with the British establishing an air bridge connecting Wideawake (Ascension Island Airfield) with the UK, bringing in tons and tons of supplies for the task force heading south.
Whilst all of this was taking place, the RAF was looking into how they could get involved with what was up until now a naval affair. They
(Excerpt) Read more at theaviationist.com ...
Image credit: Jez B/Flickr
"All of the tanker aircraft were deployed to Ascension Island, where they flew a number of reconnaissance missions over South Georgia and the Falklands, looking for Argentinean naval vessels. Whilst this was taking place the Vulcans were on their way to Ascension fully armed with 21, 1,000-lb bombs after a last minute change of heart to medium height bombing on the runway.
Apr. 30, 1982 would be the day for the mission code named Black Buck. So, at 22.30, 13 Victor tankers and 2 Vulcans left Ascension Island and headed south. During the flight south, the primary Vulcan developed a fault forcing the back-up plane (XM607) to relieve it. Also at this time it was found that the Vulcan was burning more fuel than it was thought, which meant that at the final refuel, the Victor gave the Vulcan enough fuel to do the mission and then turned back for Ascension. The crew knew they didnt have enough fuel to get home but due to radio silence were not able to raise the alarm.
The Vulcan continued towards its target and dropped to low level to evade detection but, due to the rather old navigation equipment the crew were not exactly sure of their exact position. The only way to work this out was to pop up, do a single sweep of the radar, and drop down again.
The jet was now only minutes from its target and found itself only a mile off course. A correction in course and then the jet slammed into a steep climb up to middle level where it released its weapons."
I here your pane ;-)
You forgot the apostrophe. :)
Here's the cockpit of that beast .. click the pic for a HUGH version:
Did you catch the droll little joke in the words on the magazine stuffed in the right-seat window blind?
At least they had velcro.
A visiting Vulcan bomber at SAC, Omaha was due at the Iowa Air Guard air show in Des Moines some years ago. One of the local radio stations announced the impending arrival of the spooky jet and hundreds were watching as the it floated in to the Des Moines Airport.
Being unfamiliar with the short SW cross wind runway, the pilot over shot the pavement and had to fire up ands go around for a second try. Four black exhausts trailed the big airplane as it circled downtown and finally landed safely.
The next day at the airshow, the commanding officer, a Brit, was heard to ask the pilot if there were any issues he should know about.
“No problem, sir,” the pilot said. “No problem.”
The pilot and crew were from the 44th Rhodesia Squadron.
Maybe it’s my old eyes, but it looks like they missed the runway or are the darker spots some sort of patches?
One of my favorite memories from the Falklands War was a 1-pane comic in which a British soldier was on the radio with HMS Invincible, with several other British soldiers in full combat gear securing the immediate area. The immediate area featured Floyd’s general store, a couple of rednecks sitting in rockers on the porch (with, of course, the inevitable hound dog sleeping at their feet). The soldier was saying the following: “Roger, Invincible, we’ve secured South Georgia. Natives seem bewildered, over.”
I still can’t find that comic anywhere on the Internet - anyone know where it might be found?
They even have room for a couple more gauges.
Good catch ! !
That plane looks like a scaled up X-1 from that era.
Always loved how the British basically “molded” the jet engines right into the wing designs. (Comet,etc.) Made them so sleek looking.
Right up until the time you have an engine fire...
The Argie airforce today is joke. They are actually far weaker today then anytime during the Falkland war. They hardly have any modern fighter. Even without the British navy ACs, the Brits have land based Typhoon Euro fighter station on Falkland this time to cut down the Argies to size. The Argies have absolutely nothing that can take on the Typhoons. Falkland war will be over in matter of hours.
However if Venezuela was to lend them their Su-30MKs that could change the game all together.
The stick of bombs that missed are from the second Black Buck mission (Black Buck 2). Black Buck 1s stick are located near the center of the runway. The first bomb of that string hit the runway.