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Bravo November - No Ordinary Chinook  
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 9355 times:

Chinook ZA718 of the RAF, was one of a batch of 33 that entered RAF service from 1981.
When the Falklands War blew up, the Chinook was seen as a vital asset to support the land forces, since the carriers had sailed (and were full to bursting with Harriers and Sea Kings anyway), four Chinooks were loaded on to (along with additional Harriers, Wessex helicopters, a mountain of spares), the requisitioned merchant container ship Atlantic Conveyor .

The Harriers took off and deployed to the carriers once in range, while the helicopters were prepared.
One Chinook, now serviceable, was airborne when Atlantic Conveyor , was hit by AM-39 Exocet missiles on the 25th of May, almost certainly, this extra large blip on a Super Etendard's radar screen was mistaken for one of the carriers.
This Chinook, call sign Bravo November though with no spares or tools, was to go on and provide vital support for the rest of the war.
In one case, 81 troops were squeezed aboard, the very first tasking had been to insert SAS into enemy territory.

Still in service, ZA718 has seen action in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, was one of 5 Chinooks in the heli assault from RN carriers, on the Al Faw in Iraq in 2003.
As well as more recent service in Afghanistan.

BBC Radio have told the story of this remarkable chopper and those who operated it here, (hurry, it might not be on there for long);
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/itsmystory/pip/ryoy1/


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andras Sobester


From the Chinooks makers;
http://www.boeing.com/news/frontiers/archive/2005/february/i_ids3.html

And an illustrated piece here;
http://www.airsceneuk.org.uk/oldstuff/2008/469za718/za718.htm

Edit - Adding Boeing link

[Edited 2008-05-09 12:40:02]

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 9281 times:

Ahhh I know the helicopter well, I've been on it a few times and it's always me who points out 'ahh that's the Falklands helicopter !' like the true plane spotter I am
I must admit 81 troops on a chinook is pretty impressive, I think we've had about 44 or so one but nothing more than that !

Cheers to ZA718 and the happy feelings it brings as it comes down to take you back to barracks after a few weeks freezing your ass off in the field !
Wrighbrothers



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineWarRI1 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 8892 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 9209 times:



Quoting GDB (Thread starter):

I would hope an aircraft with a record like that would go to an military aircraft museum.



It is better to die on your feet, than live on your knees.
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Reply 3, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9140 times:



Quoting WarRI1 (Reply 2):
I would hope an aircraft with a record like that would go to an military aircraft museum.

When eventually it does retire, I think it's very likely it will go to the RAF museum in Hendon, North London.


User currently offlineACW367 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2007, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 8813 times:

Another reason to save this aircraft is that two different pilots, flying in two different conflicts have been awarded the DFC for actions in this aircraft.

http://www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/de...mberchinookcrewreuniteatodiham.htm

Sqn Ldr Dick Langworthy in the Falklands (1982) and Sqn Ldr Steve Carr in Iraq (2003)


User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 8764 times:



Quoting GDB (Thread starter):
Atlantic Conveyor , was hit by AM-39 Exocet missiles on the 25th of May, almost certainly, this extra large blip on a Super Etendard's radar screen was mistaken for one of the carriers.

What make you think it was a mistake? During war civilian cargo ships (or aircraft) loaded with war supplies are bonafide targets!


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Reply 6, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 8750 times:

What make you think it was a mistake? During war civilian cargo ships (or aircraft) loaded with war supplies are bonafide targets!

The Argentines only had 5 AM-39's, one hit HMS Sheffield , the other missed-likely decoyed by chaff fired by HMS Yarmouth , two fired at Atlantic Conveyor , one last AM-39 was launched on 30th May, as part of a last attempt to hit a carrier along with four Skyhawks, it burnt out or was decoyed-two of the four Skyhawks were destroyed by Sea Dart SAMs from HMS Exeter .

The Etendard pilot had to 'pop up' from very low level, scan with the Agave radar, fire at any contact within range, preferably the largest if you had a choice.
Then get the hell out.
The attack on HMS Sheffield , was, like all the AM-39 attacks, intended to hit a carrier, the only sure way of getting the UK out of the war.

But you are right in that the Atlantic Conveyor was a serious loss. By a long way the most serious.
Had the ground forces not been able to march, with heavy gear, some 50 miles across wet and boggy ground, then fight against well dug in opponents, the loss of the ship would have been decisive.
The Chinooks, with the extra Wessex supplementing existing choppers, were intended to do this tasking. As well as carrying supplies, under-slung 105mm guns etc. The existing choppers did that so most of the troops had to walk!

However, the Argentine AF, however determined generally, failed to hit large transports at anchor during the landings, not even the huge requisitioned liner, the Canberra , still white painted, nor the assault ships Fearless and Intrepid , any of these could have caused mass casualties, in the 100's, amongst embarked troops.
Instead, they went for the escorts, just as intended.

There was an attempt to attack the long supply lines, the Argentines literally pushed bombs out of the rear of a C-130 at a tanker, without success.
The next time they tried it, a Sea Harrier shot the C-130 down.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12142 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 8733 times:

She has definetly earned her place in RAF history.  bigthumbsup 

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13206 posts, RR: 77
Reply 8, posted (4 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 7249 times:

Two years on, Bravo November is back from a hard Afghan tour, not ready for the RAF Museum yet!

Link including video;

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/De...NovemberReturnsFromAfghanistan.htm


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