ba97
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Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:46 pm

I am reading Vangaurd to Trident, which is an excellent book on the post war Royal Navy. It walks through the great debates of the fleet air arm in a way a pedestrian like me can understand. In reading the sections on the Falklands, I get the impression the Argentine Airforce did an outstanding job in many ways and were victims of dud bombs and incorrect fuse settings. The number of times they appear to have had hits or access to British ships surprised me and the conclusion could have been much different if missles, bombs had worked.

I know the British aircraft did quite well and praise is worthy of them as with the ship creews. Am I reading this right that the RN could have lost many more ships had bombs gone off and the domino effect of thus exposing more ships?

Also is there some document/report, analyses of the conflict that assess the performance of both sides?
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wvsuperhornet
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:22 pm

The argentine airforce was well trained but they fell under the same problem the Iraqi airforce did during the first gulf war, they were very poorly managed by their commanders and their president. Its my understanding they they still havent recovered from that war. The british are very well trained and commanded, thats why they won.
 
ajd1992
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:01 pm

There's no such thing as "doing a good job" when you're talking about bombing ships with enemy troops on it. I'm not saying this because I'm British, I'm saying out of respect.


I don't know about the whole war, but there was a very detailed and indepth book on the "Black Buck" raids. I can't remember the name, and it's pretty rare but it's worth buying if you find it. My dad had a copy and I loved reading it.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:25 pm

When looking at dud bombs, consider how they had to be delivered.
At very low altitude, this was because the RN's Sea Dart missiles and Sea Harrier aircraft made anything else suicidal.

The Argentine AF used mostly British 1000lb bombs (which came with the ex RAF Canberra bombers in the late 60's) which were not optimized for low level anti shipping.
The rotor fuze needed to rotate a certain number of times to detonate and at very low level this often meant the bomb impacted before this cycle was completed.
Also, they had been training mainly for a potential war with Chile, against the land forces.

Another problem was that at these low levels, with recce being usually impossible again due to the RN missiles and fighters, they had hardly any time to choose and acquire targets.
In San Carlos Water, they failed to disrupt the British landings, this is why that location was chosen, they had to fly very low over West Falkland to avoid detection then when they arrived on target they usually attacked the first target they saw.
Which is why the assault ships and merchant vessels in this area, even the huge white painted liner, the Canberra were not damaged.

The first targets acquired were the escorting Frigates, this is how vessels like HMS Ardent were sunk, wave after wave went for the first target, warships like Ardent which took multiple hits and then Antelope and serious damage done to HMS Minerva .
But that was what these ships were there to do, screen and protect the big landing and supply ships.
A disadvantage for the British was that the surrounding hills meant they had very little radar warning of attackers, but that was the lesser of two evils and was proved a correct trade off.

The RN were more concerned with the A-4's operated by the Argentine Navy, since they has US 500lb retard bombs, where fins deployed after release slowing the bomb and allowing fuzing, also these were trained in anti shipping.
Some of this knowledge and equipment would be transferred across to the air force, but probably too late for them.

For the British the air defence problems were myriad, both the Sea Dart and Sea Harrier were optimized to defend against large Soviet bombers/maritime aircraft, in the North Atlantic.
So the Sea Harrier's original Blue Fox radar was for air search against these targets at medium level as well as surface search for enemy ships.
Sea Dart worked best at similar style targets, (though HMS Exeter would down two A-4's at very low level on 30 May).

The RN's weak point was in close in systems, a low priority against these Soviet targets, hence most RN ships had the aging Sea Cat SAM with in 1982, only a handful with the replacement Sea Wolf.
The latter had some teething problems but when effective, it was devastating.
Had more ships had this system in 1982 then fewer ships would have been hit.

Only after the war, did the RN get US 20mm Phalanx radar directed cannon, as well as modern 20mm and 30mm manually aimed guns.
RN ships did have old 20mm and 40mm guns in the war, but these had long been seen as for use against small vessels, not air defence, though they were pressed into action against Argentine aircraft with some limited success.

So both sides in many respects were fighting an unexpected war, more so the British who had for the previous 15 years, switched from a big carrier worldwide force to being still one of the largest navies, but equipped to fight a largely anti submarine war against the USSR.
This was a logical (and let's face it, affordable) role at the time.
In 1982, the RN capital ships were the nuclear submarines.
Which as we saw, did have the effect of forcing the Argentine Navy A-4's to operate from land, after their carrier ran for home after the Belgrano was sunk, which lost them the options of attacking well within range, not as from land, at the limits, as well as not being able to mount multi directional strikes.

The Argentine pilots were very brave, even the limited air defences they faced put up a hail of shells and missiles and took a toll, remember too that their aircraft had no radar warning systems, so if ship launched missiles like a Sea Dart or Sea Wolf locked on, they usually never knew what hit them.
As stated though, their intel was poor, tactics often bad too.
This did not stop them at times scoring significant successes but never any kind of knock out blow.

Towards the end, they even resorted to trying night attacks against the advancing British land forces near Stanley, bringing back the aging Canberra's which has failed so badly in daylight on 1st May.
But when this was attempted, a Canberra was picked off by a Sea Dart SAM.

Their aircraft on the Islands, their own counter insurgency Pucaras and Macchi jet trainers, suffered from airfield damage from air attacks, special forces raids and naval bombardment.
When they did get airborne they were too vunerable to Sea Harriers and missile attack.

One other significant mistake may have been them giving up attempting to shoot down Sea Harriers after they were badly mauled in the first (and only) air to air action on 1st May.
Though close in the Sea Harrier was better then either their specialized interceptor Mirage III's, the close Israeli built 'Dagger' relative of the French jet, the Sea Harriers were so limited in numbers that unlike the Argentines, they could not sustain losses.
As it was, they pretty much left the Harriers free to down and/or disrupt many attacking aircraft.
Which in the end meant that it was the Argentine air arms who ran short of aircraft and pilots.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:03 pm



Quoting Ajd1992 (Reply 2):
I don't know about the whole war, but there was a very detailed and indepth book on the "Black Buck" raids. I can't remember the name, and it's pretty rare but it's worth buying if you find it. My dad had a copy and I loved reading it.

That would be the superb 'Vulcan 607'. (But it was also something of a bestseller!)

And 'Vanguard To Trident' is very good too!
 
GST
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:04 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 3):

This man speaks the truth. Superb account as always GDB.

I personally think the most powerful weapon in the Argentine inventory in 1982 was the French made Exocet missile. This missile could be fired from mobile land units and air. The air launched weapon eliminated many of the defensive advantages in the Royal Navy task force. It could be launched from far enough away, that even if the incoming strike was detected, harriers may not have had enough time to be vectored onto target, at least not before the weapons were released. The weapon would then fly at high speed at wavetop height, well out of the Sea Dart's comfort zone, and as GDB said, the Sea Wolf had many bugs. It was the Exocet that crippled and ultimately sunk HMS sheffield.

The Argentine Exocet delivery was not due to be completed until well into 1983, and as such, only a few were avaliable to the Argentine forces when pressed into service. I do not have the numbers to hand but will try and find them.

The occuption was planned to take place a year later, but was brought forwards for political reasons. It is worth noting that the invasion was not really made for any nationalistic reunion purposes per se, so much as an attempt for a weakening regime in power to solidify control over the nation. They never expected the UK government to make a stand over what they percieved to be a trinket colony.

In my view, had the exocet been avaliable to the Argentine forces in anything like the numbers they had on order at the time of occupation, it would have been impossible for the UK forces to put enough boots on the ground to retake the islands, let alone support them. At least, not without borrowing a fixed wing aircraft carrier and a few dedicated air defence ships from the USA, and could you really have expected Uncle Sam to put thousands of their servicemen and billions of dollars of national defence taxes into the recapturing of a colonial appendage of what many would see as an outdated empire, not to mention former opressor. All for a couple of thousand people on an island they had never heard of? Hell, millions would have agreed with Argentina's claim to the islands!
 
ba97
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:18 am

Thanks folks- good information. Vulcan 607 was an amazing read. I can see how this conflict would be a great example of "what if" in that success could have been turned to defeat. From Vanguard to Trident I understand several RN submarines were coming into the area in that if needed, the RN could have pulled out of range of aircraft and played a waiting game while their submarines took care of supplies and a wider hunt.

From the amount of air attacks on ships, I suspect much was learned not only on ship design but on the success/failure of defence systems from which many allies benefited. In the last 30 years, would I be correct that this was the biggest air assualt on ships?
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ferrypilot
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:32 am



Quoting GST (Reply 5):
All for a couple of thousand people on an island they had never heard of? Hell, millions would have agreed with Argentina's claim to the islands!

I think a large part of it was Margaret Thatcher wanting to find enduring fame for herself, ...wanting a piece of Winston Churchill's pie!
 
ANZUS340
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:48 am

But if the Argies had had access to greater number of Exocet missiles, enabling them to thwart a landing would that have stopped British ownership of the islands? Would the UK have had the ability to blockade Argentine ports? I am wondering if they Could they have threatened all shipping to and from the ports with SSNs and totally decimated the Argentine navy? I know such a move would not have been popular around the world, but surely it would have been effective.

I really do not know anything about the war. I was very small and living in New Zealand.
 
L-188
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:45 am



Quoting GST (Reply 5):
At least, not without borrowing a fixed wing aircraft carrier and a few dedicated air defence ships from the USA, and could you really have expected Uncle Sam to put thousands of their servicemen and billions of dollars of national defence taxes into the recapturing of a colonial appendage of what many would see as an outdated empire, not to mention former opressor

Actually both Argentina and the US where defense treaty signatories, so the US would have had to violate that treaty if they where to go against the Argies.

Quoting GST (Reply 5):
I personally think the most powerful weapon in the Argentine inventory in 1982 was the French made Exocet missile.

It was the most infamous and the hit on the Atlantic Conveyor was probably the single most important strike since it denied 3 Commando desperately needed medium and heavy lift helicopters.

Quoting ANZUS340 (Reply 8):
I am wondering if they Could they have threatened all shipping to and from the ports with SSNs and totally decimated the Argentine navy? I know such a move would not have been popular around the world, but surely it would have been effective.

Oh they would have. In fact the reason the Argentinian navy stayed in port for most of the war was because of the sinking of the Admiral Belgrano.
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XT6Wagon
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:50 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
Actually both Argentina and the US where defense treaty signatories, so the US would have had to violate that treaty if they where to go against the Argies.

Would it?

I would bet they lost the protection of it when they attacked a nation that the USA has a defense treaty with.

Quoting GST (Reply 5):
The occuption was planned to take place a year later, but was brought forwards for political reasons

Might not have gone any better even if they had waited. Perhaps the RN would have lost even less ships given that they would assume everything had the new missiles, and had proper countermesures. Tactics too could have been more conservative bleeding the Argentine Airforce in waters where the intercepts were far easier, then moving in with actual landings.
 
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spudh
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:19 am

I was under the impression that had the Argentinians gotten to the Atlantic Conveyor a week earlier it would have made a big difference to what support was available for the ground troops, not to mention that there were a couple of harriers on board too. May even have been pivotal.

Anyhow I've never read of anything but respect for the bravery of the Argentinian pilots from any RAF pilot who themselves have been ranked up there with 'the few' from the BoB for their containment of the air threat.
All the deaths and injuries on both sides in that war just adds insult to the futility of what was an act of political propaganda.
 
L-188
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:49 pm



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 10):
Quoting L-188 (Reply 9):
Actually both Argentina and the US where defense treaty signatories, so the US would have had to violate that treaty if they where to go against the Argies.

Would it?

I would bet they lost the protection of it when they attacked a nation that the USA has a defense treaty with.

The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.

Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
Anyhow I've never read of anything but respect for the bravery of the Argentinian pilots from any RAF pilot who themselves have been ranked up there with 'the few' from the BoB for their containment of the air threat.

I don't think it has ever been argued. They where opeating their aircarft right at their limits, over very cold water.
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Kukkudrill
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:39 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.

As I understand it, after some internal debates as to what stand the US should take (they even tried to mediate between the UK and Argentina at first), they decided to back the British. They made their facilities on Ascension Island available to the Brits, they supplied shiploads of aviation fuel to Ascension for the RAF to use (this is mentioned in Vulcan 607 if I'm not mistaken) and I recall reading from someplace else that they made AIM-9s available as well. Actually I read two versions of this - one that the US supplied the latest all-aspect versions to the UK, and the other that they enabled the British to draw on their own stocks of the missile that were declared to NATO by promising to make up NATO's shortfall themselves.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
I don't think it has ever been argued. They where opeating their aircarft right at their limits, over very cold water.

There is a book called "Air War South Atlantic" or something like that which was written by British authors but covers both sides evenly. It contains an account of bravery by an Argentinian pilot that raised the hairs on my forearms as I read it. He was flying one of two Learjets which the Argentinians sent over for reconnaissance purposes. Unfortunately they overflew a British ship which fired a Sea Dart and hit him. Very calmly he announced that he was hit - "Me tocaron", he said, literally "they've touched me" - as British a piece of understatement as you could possibly get - and until his plane hit the sea he continued to talk on the radio as if nothing was wrong. Wow.
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spudh
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:47 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.

Was there not rumours of the US providing AWAC support for the RN?
 
rfields5421
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:19 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.



Quoting Kukkudrill (Reply 13):
As I understand it, after some internal debates as to what stand the US should take (they even tried to mediate between the UK and Argentina at first), they decided to back the British. They made their facilities on Ascension Island available to the Brits, they supplied shiploads of aviation fuel to Ascension for the RAF to use (this is mentioned in Vulcan 607 if I'm not mistaken) and I recall reading from someplace else that they made AIM-9s available as well. Actually I read two versions of this - one that the US supplied the latest all-aspect versions to the UK, and the other that they enabled the British to draw on their own stocks of the missile that were declared to NATO by promising to make up NATO's shortfall themselves.

I was in the US Navy stationed on the island of Antigua during the war. We normally had two C-141 flights per week to support the NASA facilities, and incidently us. The flights came from CHS to Patrick AFB to Antigua to Ascension to Johannesburg and return.

During the build-up for the war, those flights to Ascension went to 12-15 flights per week. The two normal flights stayed on the same schedule, but the extra flights arrived and departed in the late evening hours. Some of us sailors were pressed into guard duty to keep anyone from the C-141 aircraft. The procedures even changed so that the fuel trucks had to stay a certain distance from the plane, and only the aircrew fueled the plane. The Antiguan only drove the trucks to a more distant perimeter, and either a sailor or a USAF airman drove the truck to the plane.

During the actual war, the frequency of flights went down to 4-5 special flights per week.

Quoting Spudh (Reply 14):
Was there not rumours of the US providing AWAC support for the RN?

One E-3 and four KC-135 aircraft flew through Antigua about the time the British forces were departing the UK. They returned through Antigua about a week later.

I was told by a KC-135 crewman that I had known for years since we were both stationed at Clark that the test mission was unsuccessful. The biggest reason was that even with the tankers fueling tankers the time on station for the E-3 was too limited to be effective.

Another big reason is that ramp space at Ascension was too small for the size of force necessary to provide decent coverage - an estimated seven E-3 aircraft and 20-25 KC-135.

One of the civilian Ascension ATC controllers rotated to Antigua for a couple months after the war (he eventually went to Grand Turk). He said ramp space at Ascension was a major problem throughout the war. It was never designed to be a busy logistic hub. Space got so critical at times that an aircraft being downed for maintenance sometimes required an inbound aircraft from the UK to RTB or divert to Gibralter.

A few years after the war, I learned from some friends that a couple E-2 Hawkeye aircraft were prepared for possible use by the Brits, but a suitable launch platform was never found.

One other item. Like most wars, the US NSA very much wanted to have some of their aircraft like the VQ-1 or VQ-2 EP-3B or USAF equilavent near the war. They want to see their own data, not what their 'allies' provide.

The NSA aircraft also serve as 'truth checkers' such as the VQ-2 EC-121 was doing when it recorded the attack on the USS Liberty. To verify that our allies are telling us the truth about the conduct of the war and the positions of the various forces.

The Falklands War was one of the few since the 50's where the NSA was unable to put US assets into the area. The location made the logistics impossible.
 
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spudh
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:38 pm



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 15):
The Falklands War was one of the few since the 50's where the NSA was unable to put US assets into the area. The location made the logistics impossible.

Thats what I love about this Forum, good solid info! Thanks guys  Smile
 
GST
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:34 pm



Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):

It should be noted that it was the RN Fleet Air Arm pilots who flew the air to air sorties in the Falklands campaign, flying Sea Harriers.

The RAF did have (I think 4) Harrier ground attack variants on board HMS Hermes, but they were offensive CAS and attack assets.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:49 pm

While the AM-39 Exocet was a fearsome weapon, I also agree that the hit on Atlantic Conveyor was by far the most damaging strike of the war, it should be remembered that when they were detected in a more timely fashion, chaff clouds launched from ships were effective in decoying them.

HMS Sheffield just happened to be using it SATCOM at the time, which disrupted the ships radar detection gear at the crucial moment, so the missile was only detected with seconds to go visually, too late to deploy chaff.
The second missile may have flown into chaff fired by a nearby Frigate however.

As a merchant ship, Atlantic Conveyor was only armed with two old 40mm Bofors hastily bolted on, no chaff.
(However the Etendard pilot who fired it almost certainly fought he had one of the carriers in his sights).

HMS Glamorgan was hit at night close to shore while carrying out bombardments to support the troops, the Argentines had rather ingeniously adapted ship launched MM-38 Exocets to fire from the back of a truck.
Glamorgan had little or no time to fire chaff, but the Destroyer turned into the missile to present a smaller target, resulting in the helicopter hanger taking the hit, killing 14.
But not the midships, the control room areas, this probably saved the ship but also demonstrated how robust the old County Class Destroyers were, that they never really had weapon updates (except for, ironically, MM-38 Exocets), was a procurement failure.

If the Argentine had more of these weapons, it would have affected planning, perhaps the mooted SAS raid on the Etendard airfield might have become a reality, not just, as it seems, being reduced to a much smaller recce mission.
A Vulcan could not have reached the Argentine mainland, since the massive but fragile in-flight refueling operation used for Black Buck raids could not stretch that far.
But they did not tell the Argentines that, fear of such an attack may also have been a factor in them keeping the Mirage III interceptors out of the war after 1st May, as well as their poor showing against the Sea Harriers.

More Exocets may have further limited the Sea Harriers, as it was, the two carriers kept to the East to such an extent, some reckoned they should have been awarded the old 'Burma Star' medal! To limit opportunities to be in range of the AM-39's.
During the war, the UK dug out the old buddy-buddy refueling pods that had been used by RN Buccaneers and Sea Vixens, without these types in RN operation then, I suspect a lash up might have been done to adapt probably the deployed RAF Harrier GR.3's to carry them, to make up for keeping the carriers further East in this event.

This would have limited them in their close support role, it would have been tricky to do (though I note US A-4's used to do 'Buddy-Buddy' refueling. So you might have seen a few RAF two seater Harrier T.4's go down south to carry out this role, they would only have fitted on HMS Hermes lifts, but that was where the RAF Harrier GR.3's were based too.
Later on, a makeshift land base was made with metal planking, this might also have been done if possible sooner too.
 
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spudh
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:11 pm



Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
not to mention that there were a couple of harriers on board too. May even have been pivotal.

What I was getting at was that if the Atlantic Conveyor was sunk earlier (i.e. before they got them off but I don't know the timing of this) they might have gotten these too which would have had a big effect on air superiority and CAS ability.
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RAF and RN Harriers on board Atlantic Conveyor May 1982 (The Great Book of Modern Warplanes)
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:03 pm



Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
I was under the impression that had the Argentinians gotten to the Atlantic Conveyor a week earlier it would have made a big difference to what support was available for the ground troops, not to mention that there were a couple of harriers on board too. May even have been pivotal.

I recall that Atlantic Conveyor was only in the area of operations for a very short time. The Harriers Sea Harriers were offloaded first, with the Chinooks destined to follow next. The problem however was that the rotor blades had to be refitted, and they only had a forklift to do this rather than a proper crane, thus they had only completed one, which was on flight test when the exocet hit.

Quoting GST (Reply 17):
It should be noted that it was the RN Fleet Air Arm pilots who flew the air to air sorties in the Falklands campaign, flying Sea Harriers.

Many of the Sea Harriers were flown by RAF pilots as the fleet air arm had only just gone back into fixed wing flying.

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
HMS Sheffield just happened to be using it SATCOM at the time, which disrupted the ships radar detection gear at the crucial moment, so the missile was only detected with seconds to go visually, too late to deploy chaff.
The second missile may have flown into chaff fired by a nearby Frigate however.

It was stringly suggested that neither the fleet commander nor the captain of Sheffield appreciated the threat , thus Sheffield was not at full alert.

Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
HMS Glamorgan was hit at night close to shore while carrying out bombardments to support the troops, the Argentines had rather ingeniously adapted ship launched MM-38 Exocets to fire from the back of a truck.
Glamorgan had little or no time to fire chaff, but the Destroyer turned into the missile to present a smaller target, resulting in the helicopter hanger taking the hit, killing 14.
But not the midships, the control room areas, this probably saved the ship but also demonstrated how robust the old County Class Destroyers were, that they never really had weapon updates (except for, ironically, MM-38 Exocets), was a procurement failure.

Glamorgan was late returning from a shore bombardment, and cut a corner in order to get back to the fleet before dawn. This then took it into the range of the shore based exocet launcher.
 
ferrypilot
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:59 pm

Quoting Spudh (Reply 11):
Anyhow I've never read of anything but respect for the bravery of the Argentinian pilots from any RAF pilot who themselves have been ranked up there with 'the few' from the BoB for their containment of the air threat.

...

It's not the same. ...Many Battle of Britain pilots were only 20 years old and with very limited training and they faced down overwhelming odds whilst suffering horrific casualties up against German fighter pilots who were often battle hardened in Spain. Nor were their Hurricane's which comprised the majority of British squadrons anything like a fair match for the Me 109.

And lets not forget that making a kill with a Sidewinder requires a great deal less of the pilot than chasing down an enemy machine with .303 machine guns.

[Edited 2009-10-16 15:01:32 by ferrypilot]

[Edited 2009-10-16 15:08:18 by ferrypilot]

[Edited 2009-10-16 15:22:41 by ferrypilot]
 
GST
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:24 pm



Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 20):

Many of the Sea Harriers were flown by RAF pilots as the fleet air arm had only just gone back into fixed wing flying.

I was unaware of this, but not surprised. I am acquainted with one of the RAF GR.3 pilots who flew in the Falklands campaign off Hermes, and a good portion of my knowledge on the subject is via him. He makes out that the CO of Hermes was extremely anti-RAF, did not appreciate having RAF personnel on board, downgraded their quarters on principle, and when the surviving Chinook landed on Hermes' deck after the Atlantic conveyor was hit, he ordered it removed pronto or be pushed overboard. I know Sea Harriers also operated off the Hermes, so I would have thought that I would ahve been told of the few RAF pilots in their midst, but I will have to ask about this next time I see him.

Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 21):

And lets not forget that making a kill with a Sidewinder requires a great deal less of the pilot than chasing down an enemy machine with .303 machine guns.

That is not necessarily true, if the other aircraft is faster, or potentially has greater standoff weaponry. Missiles will tend to give one side more of an advantage if they posess the faster and longer range missiles, but keeping your tailpipe off the enemy's crosshairs is as important as ever.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:57 pm

Sheffield may not have been at the highest alert state, but it was in 'a' state of alert.
However, the ESM gear (like almost everything else), being optimized against Soviet systems, early on had trouble telling apart the Sea Harriers Blue Fox and the similar in concept Agave set fitted to the Super Etendards.
And they were getting painted by the Blue Fox radars a lot, as you'd expect, false alarms were the order of that day.

Other Type 42's experienced the same, crews probably after having multiple false alerts throughout the day, no doubt started to take them less seriously through fatigue if nothing else.
Human nature.
This was the first real modern combat with the warships, aircraft and missiles of the age, the learning curve was always going to be steep.
Plus the lack of AEW put the Type 42's in a very exposed position, without a close in weapon system to defend themselves beyond, or rather underneath, the Sea Dart missiles operating envelope.

But 5 years later, a US Frigate with the 20mm Phanlax also fell victim to the AM-39 missile.
It only survived since it was in the Persian Gulf and close to a port, the Sheffield actually sank 6 days later, on 10th May during an attempt to tow it out of the area lost out to the heavy seas of the South Atlantic.
 
ferrypilot
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:18 pm



Quoting GST (Reply 22):
That is not necessarily true, if the other aircraft is faster, or potentially has greater standoff weaponry. Missiles will tend to give one side more of an advantage if they posess the faster and longer range missiles, but keeping your tailpipe off the enemy's crosshairs is as important as ever.

It is true the use of guns to shoot another aircraft down requires a substantial degree of skill for maneuvering your aircraft accurately and with continued commitment in the face of your own death, whereas the Sidewinder is fire and forget and it barely needs pointing in the right direction to achieve a kill..
 
L-188
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sat Oct 17, 2009 4:12 am



Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 20):
Quoting GDB (Reply 18):
HMS Sheffield just happened to be using it SATCOM at the time, which disrupted the ships radar detection gear at the crucial moment, so the missile was only detected with seconds to go visually, too late to deploy chaff.
The second missile may have flown into chaff fired by a nearby Frigate however.

It was stringly suggested that neither the fleet commander nor the captain of Sheffield appreciated the threat , thus Sheffield was not at full alert.

I saw an interview with the Sheffield captain once, and I never really felt like I was getting the whole story when he presented that explaination.

As far as not appreciating the threat, this was the first time that such a heavyweight missle had been employed in that role, Before that the worse they would have to worry about is Bullpups or S.11 missles.

Also after the Falklands experience many navies including the US made efforts to reduce the amount of combustables used in the construction of ships, Aluminum, plastic and fiberglass burns.

Quoting GDB (Reply 23):
This was the first real modern combat with the warships, aircraft and missiles of the age, the learning curve was always going to be steep.

Agree with you completely.

Quoting GDB (Reply 23):
But 5 years later, a US Frigate with the 20mm Phanlax also fell victim to the AM-39 missile.

If it had hit 20 feet further forward it would have taken out a missle magazine.
It only survived since it was in the Persian Gulf and close to a port,
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rfields5421
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:08 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 25):
It only survived since it was in the Persian Gulf and close to a port,

The USS Stark only survived because of an amazing and heroic firefighting effort by the ships crew. Only after the crew won that battle did being close to a port play into saving the ship.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:16 am

I remember an article in Air International magazine in early 1981, on how the new Sea Harrier was settling into service, when discussing it's role one line would a year later jump out, .....since the Sea Harrier's role is to defend ships, not engage in a war of attrition with a land based air force.

With the AM-39 that hit Sheffield, like many of the subsequent bombs, it's warhead also did not explode, the fire being caused by the remaining rocket fuel.
The Type 42's then only had one water main, which the attack broke, as stated there was a lot of unsuitable material on the ships too.
This cost cutting was the result of getting as many of this class ordered as possible, to put plenty of Sea Dart systems to sea, the ship was conceived between the cancellation of the CVA-01 carrier and the approval of the Sea Harrier, but even then the missile system was seen as the main line of air defence, not the small number of Harriers.

Forgetting the adage that 'steel is cheap, air is free', 40 feet of the bow was reduced during design, though the last four of the class restored it, to improve sea keeping.
Though even if built as originally intended, the Sheffield would not have had a close in system.
The GWS-25 Sea Wolf was too heavy and bulky, the lighter version a few years away, prior to the Falklands Phalanx was not considered.

There have been questions over the crew in this incident, some noting that the other T-42's at the time having completely manned control rooms.

In the mid/late 70's supplementing the T-42's with some much heavier armed Type-43's, which included Sea Dart and Sea Wolf systems was considered, but cost and crewing limits kept it on the drawing board, though whether any would have been in service in early 1982 is questionable;
http://s90.photobucket.com/albums/k2...iew&current=GBDDGType431AU.gif

Another 'what if' of this war is around the two modern German subs the Argentine Navy had.
Certainly taken very seriously by the RN, their complete lack of even an attempted use was by the end, a surprise.
Some say they had technical problems, but they had been in service since the mid 70's and the Argentine Navy was technically competent.
I suspect they just could not penetrate the ASW screen, ASW was after all the main role of the RN in the Cold War at this point. The whole rationale for building the Invincible class ships was to put numbers of ASW Sea Kings into the North Atlantic.

Whatever reason, the third tussle in the 20th century between the RN and U-Boats did not happen.

[Edited 2009-10-17 00:33:13]
 
ANZUS340
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sat Oct 17, 2009 3:37 pm

The thing that bothers me about missiles such as Exocet and Harpoon is that they are not designed to be ship killers. Theoretically they are meant to cripple ships, as saving them takes up valuable resources (well this is my understanding). Missiles like Tomahawk or the various Soviet/Russian missiles such as Sandbox etc. were/are designed to sink ships. That these medium weight missiles came very close to sinking these ships makes me wonder if later designs such as the Type 23s and Arleigh Burke classes are vast improvements over earlier western ships. To look at them I would say they certainly look beefier.

Of course I really have no clue about ship design or anything else when it comes to engineering, which is one of the reasons I am here and have more questions than answers.
 
L-188
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sat Oct 17, 2009 5:34 pm



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 26):
Quoting L-188 (Reply 25):
It only survived since it was in the Persian Gulf and close to a port,

The USS Stark only survived because of an amazing and heroic firefighting effort by the ships crew. Only after the crew won that battle did being close to a port play into saving the ship.

Agreed, but that wasn't my quote.

But you have to agree if that missile had ended up in the missle locker under the foward Standard launcher it would have went up instantly.

Quoting ANZUS340 (Reply 28):
The thing that bothers me about missiles such as Exocet and Harpoon is that they are not designed to be ship killers. Theoretically they are meant to cripple ships, as saving them takes up valuable resources (well this is my understanding). Missiles like Tomahawk or the various Soviet/Russian missiles such as Sandbox etc. were/are designed to sink ships. That these medium weight missiles came very close to sinking these ships makes me wonder if later designs such as the Type 23s and Arleigh Burke classes are vast improvements over earlier western ships. To look at them I would say they certainly look beefier

It really depends on what size of boat you shoot at. Another point is that in the case of the Atlantic Conveyor is that it was never designed as a combat ship and therefore lacked the damage control facilities of a purpose designed naval vessel.

Lack of good damage control facilities is one of the reasons that the Japs lost so many combatants in WWII, and good damage control is why so many US ships in the same battles survived terrible maulings.
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ANZUS340
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sat Oct 17, 2009 6:43 pm

L-188. Good points, thanks.
 
Bongodog1964
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sat Oct 17, 2009 7:55 pm



Quoting GST (Reply 22):
Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 20):

Many of the Sea Harriers were flown by RAF pilots as the fleet air arm had only just gone back into fixed wing flying.

I was unaware of this, but not surprised. I am acquainted with one of the RAF GR.3 pilots who flew in the Falklands campaign off Hermes, and a good portion of my knowledge on the subject is via him. He makes out that the CO of Hermes was extremely anti-RAF, did not appreciate having RAF personnel on board, downgraded their quarters on principle, and when the surviving Chinook landed on Hermes' deck after the Atlantic conveyor was hit, he ordered it removed pronto or be pushed overboard. I know Sea Harriers also operated off the Hermes, so I would have thought that I would ahve been told of the few RAF pilots in their midst, but I will have to ask about this next time I see him.

If you read the book on the Falklands air war by Sharkey Ward who commanded the Sea Harrier squadron on Invincible, he was firmly of the opinion that the senior officers on Hermes were not so much anti RAF as anti Harrier, failing completely to appreciate the aircrafts capability. Examples include banning the use of the Blue Fox radar, as they didn't believe it worked properly, and instructing their aircrew to only intercept Argentinian aircraft after they had bombed the fleet in San Carlos, as opposed to before they got there.
 
ba97
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sun Oct 18, 2009 2:31 am

How much of air fired weapons are aimed at the shp compared to a vital area. Does a missile aim or get aimed for a selected area compared to density or heat? Then, also, how much would Argentina know of where to aim? I gather the soft points of ships would be know in naval areas to a level of detail worthy of targeting.
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XT6Wagon
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sun Oct 18, 2009 5:38 am



Quoting Ba97 (Reply 32):
How much of air fired weapons are aimed at the shp compared to a vital area.

all missiles are going to try fly to the center of what they track, so a HARM missile will try to hit the center of the radar source, radar guided will try to hit the center of the return the object its tracking, heatseaking the center of the hottest heat source, etc.

I doubt even today we can reliably aim for any specific part of a ship unless we use a seaker head that can home in on a very unique aspect of a ship.

that said, there are no armored ship in active use by any navy and center of mass shots tend to be center of what you want to blow up given how much vital components are located in the superstructure. So the days of ships being hit and remaining combat viable are rare, and the days of ships being hit and not sinking not that much better off.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sun Oct 18, 2009 11:17 am

'Sharky' Ward's book was very revealing, at times controversial.
He was an old FAA hand, having previously flown Sea Vixens then F-4's, off the old conventional carriers.
He did not approach the Sea Harrier with it's limitations in mind, rather it's potential, he had been a major player in it's development.

But, in the RN at the time, he was something of an exception.
Since in the RN of the time, the center of gravity had shifted to the Cold War ASW mission and the submarine fleet.
For senior officers, this was the career path.
And it would largely remain so even after this war, in fact even in the immediate period after the collapse of the USSR, leading the controversial Minister Of State at Defence, the late Alan Clark, to describe the RN's Admiral's to a journalist, as a 'bunch of c**ts'.
(He had similar problems with the army, trying to shift funding from heavy armour-still in Germany-to deployable, air-mobile units).

This only really changed after the 1998 defence review, which started the long path to the new large carriers whose metal is being cut now.

But as we saw, Ward prevailed and the Sea Harrier passed into legend.

Mention should also be made of the Type 21 Frigates, built in the 1970's from a commercial export project, rather than as usual, something out of the RN's own development department, these 8 ships were intended as lower cost gap fillers, allowing obsolete ships to be replaced without busting the budget, to preserve funds for more complex ASW oriented types as the Type-22.
Cheaper to operate (only a crew on 170-about 100 less than for other Frigates, popular with crews too).

Initially lightly armed, the T-21's got MM-38 Exocets, giving them a general purpose role, ideal for 'showing the flag' deployments like the West Indies Guard-ship, but just sophisticated enough to be part of the escort fleet too, with a decent sonar, a fairly sophisticated command and control system-compared to the export designs in came from, Lynx helicopter, ASW torpedo tubes.
But they had a weak point, at the time of construction the old SAM available was the aging, subsonic Sea Cat, albeit in the GWS-24 version with more modern radar guidance.
But just one 4 round launcher, the T-21's had weight limitations already stretched by supplementing the 4.5 inch gun with the Exocets.
(Also meaning the GWS-25 Sea Wolf was a non starter).

7 of the 8 T-21's would be deployed in the war, they carried out shore bombardment, one sank an Argentine supply ship it encountered while staking out San Carlos water, but aside from the Sea Cats they had, as close range AA guns, just two old 20mm guns.

The first attacks on HMS Ardent destroyed the Sea Cat launcher, leaving just the 4.5 inch (not really intended for AA use) and the 20mm's.
With more aluminum construction than any other previous ship, the T-21's had little ability to absorb punishment.
But for all that, given their extensive use, it probably is not that surprising that two were lost, they were very much between the attacking aircraft and the landing and logistic ships in San Carlos and therefore bore the brunt of those air-strikes.
 
ba97
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:44 pm

XT6Wagaon - you commented on something that was a learning moment- "that said, there are no armored ship in active use by any navy and center of mass shots tend to be center of what you want to blow up given how much vital components are located in the superstructure."

So my idea of a ship having vital areas with x inches of armour and decks with y inches... is old WW2 thinking? I expect magazines and some other areas are reenforced but you make me think that navies post WW2 determined that "thin is in" and the need for a big gun destroyer is not needed when dealing with air attacks. Before ships were designed to take a lot of pounding as there were less delicate things. Now you need not sink- putting it out of action was good enough and could be with one shot messing electronics. Planes could stand off and fire missiles and the ship stand off and fire missiles. With radar and air, surface actions would be considered rare and thus thin in some places would result. Therefore Falklands was the first real test of 1945-1980 theories.

Also my old brain understands a shell having armour piercing, decapping, delayed fuses.... words attached to them. Do the exocet et al ship missile tips work in the same concept as a shell? What I learn from all you all write is the last thing a ship wants is a plane anywhere close and an airborne missile coming into a ship regardless of location has a high potential for crippling damage (physical or electronic).
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XT6Wagon
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sun Oct 18, 2009 8:24 pm



Quoting Ba97 (Reply 35):
Also my old brain understands a shell having armour piercing, decapping, delayed fuses.... words attached to them. Do the exocet et al ship missile tips work in the same concept as a shell? What I learn from all you all write is the last thing a ship wants is a plane anywhere close and an airborne missile coming into a ship regardless of location has a high potential for crippling damage (physical or electronic).

The early missile tests found that if you design a missile assuming armor and hit an unarmored ship in an area without highdensity objects like engines.... It flys right through and explodes on the far side. So as far as I know all missiles for anti-ship today are fused for "contact" where they explode on or just after "light" contact. It would boggle my mind that the russians much less anyone else would waste time on fusing for armor when the Iowa class was re-introducted. A missile non-penitration might do just as much if not more to disable the combat effectiveness of the BB given the fact that all the exposed sensors, missiles, etc are hanging out in the wind. Don't have to sink it to render it useless if you can knock out the unprotected equipment. Again an argument against spending lots of money on armor.

And yes they went away from armoring as they assumed that it would be more effective to have a 3 for 2 or 2 for 1 ratio of cheaper unarmored ships given the ability to quickly scale bombs and missiles to deal with more armor. Note we are talking about heavy armor, most if not all naval vessels have high resistance to penitration and damage from small arms and other weapons of the kind simply due to strutural requirements of being an ocean going vessel.

Quoting GDB (Reply 34):
Since in the RN of the time, the center of gravity had shifted to the Cold War ASW mission and the submarine fleet

I think its a good thing they did pay attention to this role given how effective torpedos and the submarines that fired them got. Balance however is allways needed in your approch which as we can see from this war wasn't maintained.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:02 pm



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 36):
I think its a good thing they did pay attention to this role given how effective torpedos and the submarines that fired them got. Balance however is allways needed in your approch which as we can see from this war wasn't maintained.

Agreed, a lot of lessons were learned, (or re-learned).
But, looking back it's notable that despite the seeming endless rounds of 'cuts', the UK amongst the European NATO nations, maintained a higher level of defence spending, even after the foreign exchange sucking 'East Of Suez' presence largely ended after 1971.

A large army in Germany, formations based at home sufficient to double it's size if need be, a substantial tactical air-force in Germany too, with the end of the NATO 'nuclear tripwire' and improvements to Soviet strike aircraft capability, the need to renew the UK based air defence, the nuclear deterrent, the ability to reinforce NATO flanks, in Norway or the Mediterranean.
In all this, the RN had to fit into this posture, which meant the focus was on the North Atlantic.
That there was still some amphibious capability for the Falklands, was only as a result of the NATO flank reinforcement need.

All the above, at the same time, was unprecedented in peacetime Britain, when the RN was a much larger worldwide force, historically the army was smaller, optimized for 'colonial policing' than large scale formations for a European war.
All the while the cost of new equipment was increasing almost exponentially.

During the late 40's to early 60's, conscription was even reintroduced (again unprecedented in peacetime), such were the massive commitments. Only the very costly nuclear deterrent allowed that to end, all of which had been to the detriment of the countries post war economic recovery.
 
L-188
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:04 am



Quoting XT6Wagon (Reply 33):
I doubt even today we can reliably aim for any specific part of a ship unless we use a seaker head that can home in on a very unique aspect of a ship.

The only round I can think of that can do it would be the Hellfire, which I think the swedes used in a ground based coastal defense role, but that it a laser guided weapon.

Quoting GDB (Reply 34):
The first attacks on HMS Ardent destroyed the Sea Cat launcher, leaving just the 4.5 inch (not really intended for AA use)

I am surprised to hear that since the US. Navy in WWII did have airburst rounds for their 5 inchers for anti-aircraft defense.
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rwessel
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:37 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 38):
Quoting GDB (Reply 34):
The first attacks on HMS Ardent destroyed the Sea Cat launcher, leaving just the 4.5 inch (not really intended for AA use)

I am surprised to hear that since the US. Navy in WWII did have airburst rounds for their 5 inchers for anti-aircraft defense.

I don't know about 1982, but currently the 4.5 inch Mark 8 uses dual purpose ammunition that can be fused (at the point of firing) against either surface or aerial targets. The Mark 8 also has a slightly limiting maximum elevation (55 degrees) for the anti-air role (the US dual purpose 5"/38 of WWII that you mentioned could elevate to 85 degrees). Still, a gun against jets and missiles is not really going to be all that effective.
 
GDB
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:02 pm

The twin 4.5 that equipped most RN ships from the late 40's to the early 70's, was intended as dual purpose, but it was felt the jet age made it not very effective in that role.

It's replacement was lighter, needed less crew, had a longer range, giving it a higher rate of fire would have made a bigger, heavier, more complex design.
Plus by then the RN were wedded to air defence by missiles.

My view is that that Italian rapid fire 76mm would have been better for the Type 42 Destroyers, since it's range was enough to engage the sorts of Russian large ASM's this vessel was designed to defend against without large sections of the missile still hitting the vessel through inertia.
Or the RN could just have modernized the British twin 76mm rapid fire guns, as fitted to a few post WW2 Cruisers, into a single barreled modernized package with a much lighter turret.
Probably would not have changed what happened to Sheffield but might have made a difference to HMS Coventry .
 
ba97
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:39 pm

Would a ship borne gun value not be to "hit" the target but being able to put up shrapnel infront of the flight path would do a lot of damage to a jet or physical body. Also I wonder if a bunch of things shot into the flight path with the ability to mess up electronics could work, if they exist. So a rapid fire long range gun that could get up 30K feet would have value? I get the feeling that the Falklands showed that once the missiles are gone (or misfiring), old fashion guns have value on attacking and defending. The RN going the missile route seems to be a lot of faith in a system that had no valuable back-up for the ship. This all leads me to think the Falklands was a great real world learning ground on many theories on aircraft vs ships. Excuse my ramblings, I find this discussion most educational.
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rwessel
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:32 am



Quoting Ba97 (Reply 41):
Would a ship borne gun value not be to "hit" the target but being able to put up shrapnel infront of the flight path would do a lot of damage to a jet or physical body.

That's basically been the point of all heavy AA gunfire since before WWII. Explode close enough to the target to pepper it with shrapnel. In the very unlikely event that you actually hit it, great, but that's not the design point of AAA. Most WWII flak was time fused, so that the shell exploded at a certain time after it left the barrel (and hopefully at the right altitude). More advanced proximity fuses basically use a primitive radar or magnetometer to explode the shell when it passes close to something.

The problem is that you have really fast moving targets and the destructive radius of even a relatively large shell like a 5 incher, is disappointingly small. Consider that if you broke a (roughly) 50lb 5 inch shell into a quarter ounce bits (about the size of 9mm sidearm round - which would be pretty small to do much damage), and that the aircraft had an apparent target surface of 1000 sq ft (this would be somewhat bigger than the planform of an F-15), on average only a *single* one of those 3200 bits of shrapnel would typically hit the target aircraft if you placed the shell 500ft from the target. In practice you'll have bigger shrapnel and go for a shorter distance, and the aircraft won't have that big a target surface.

Then consider the flight time of the shell - estimate something like 2500ft/sec for the shell, an aircraft a mere 25,000ft away is *10* long seconds away. A jet at just under mach 1 will be moving some 1100ft/sec, and will move some two miles during the shells flight. Add a little maneuvering, and you can see why using a gun to put a shell within 50-100ft of a fast aircraft is a really tough proposition. The only way to reliably hit something is to put up a huge volume of ammunition.

Consider that a WWII Baltimore had a dozen 5"/38s, and something like 50 40mm Bofors and 24 20mm Oerlikons for anti-air defense, and relied on nearby units to add to that volume of fire. And they were targeting much slower aircraft, which had to approach much closer to the target to be effective. Compared to that, a Type 21, while admittedly a rather smaller ship than a Baltimore, has a *single* 4.5 incher, and *two* 20mm Oerlikons, and in the Falklands, was operating basically alone.

At shorter ranges things improve somewhat, the target can move less (because the flight time is so short), and smaller caliber weapons can put up effective projectiles at a high rate, high enough that you can track the outgoings and the target and converge the two (like the USN's Phalanx - which fires 75 3.5oz rounds at 3600ft/sec each second).

The missile has the enormous advantage that it can adjust it's course to meet the moving target. In fact the warhead on the typical SAM is not all that much bigger than the 5” shell (the SM-2’s warheads run about 100-150lbs, depending on version), it just has a much, much, higher probability of being placed close to the target.
 
rheinwaldner
Posts: 1261
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:51 am



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 42):

What about this? This system is known longer than 10 years for our contraves skyguard FLAB (though not used in the swiss army):
http://www.rheinmetall-detec.de/index.php?fid=3526&lang=3
http://defense-update.com/products/a/ahead.htm
Skyguard was always against missiles. But with AHEAD ammunition a shrapnel front works. 24 bursts of projectiles are aimed exactly to the missile (before AHEAD we trained to achieve direct hits on missiles the same way), when leaving the muzzle the timer is programmed to create the most effective shrapnel front (even the actual muzzle velocity is measured and probably taken into account).
It seems that this ABM ammunition gets used for ships too...
 
wvsuperhornet
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:47 am



Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
The US was clearly for Maggie, but I do seem to remember some discussion about what support the US could supply without violating the existing treaty (Sorry I can't remember the name). I think there where even calls for USAF to provide tanker support for the Vulcan raids but that never happened.

They didnt need it the British where allowed full use of US airforce bases in the region.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:20 am



Quoting Wvsuperhornet (Reply 44):
They didnt need it the British where allowed full use of US airforce bases in the region.

Which US bases in the region?

Ascension is a British island, not US. Even though the US uses the airfield more than the British, it is a RAF base, not a USAF base.

But at a distance of 3,376 miles - it is a long way from being a usable base for any realistic operations. That is longer than the distance from Tokyo to Honolulu.

In 1982 the closest US base to the Falklands Islands was Howard Air Force Base in Panama - 3,798 nm from Port Stanley.

Probably the longest distance sustained combat operations were the B-52 missions out of Guam over Vietnam - 2,200-2,400 nm each way. Those would not have been possible without having KC-135 tankers flying from bases very near the combat zone.

The US could not have made those missions work without bases in Thailand, the Philippines, Okinawa and of course tankers from Guam.

Too few runways and too much water to make that work in the Falklands.
 
L-188
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:11 am



Quoting Wvsuperhornet (Reply 44):
They didnt need it the British where allowed full use of US airforce bases in the region

Got to ask the question Again, what bases?

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 45):
Probably the longest distance sustained combat operations were the B-52 missions out of Guam over Vietnam - 2,200-2,400 nm each way. Those would not have been possible without having KC-135 tankers flying from bases very near the combat zone.

At that time yes, but I believe that has been beaten by B-2's running strikes out of Whiteman AFB Missouri against Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan
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rfields5421
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RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:13 pm



Quoting L-188 (Reply 46):
but I believe that has been beaten by B-2's running strikes out of Whiteman AFB Missouri against Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan

Yes those were longer. There have even been B-52 missions from Barksdale to Iraq and Afghanistan, and B-1 from Dyess.

But none of those were sustained operations. Daily by dozens of aircraft for months on end.

They were more speciality missions like the Vulcans in the Falklands.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:40 am



Quoting Rwessel (Reply 42):
Quoting Ba97 (Reply 41):
Would a ship borne gun value not be to "hit" the target but being able to put up shrapnel infront of the flight path would do a lot of damage to a jet or physical body.

That's basically been the point of all heavy AA gunfire since before WWII. Explode close enough to the target to pepper it with shrapnel. In the very unlikely event that you actually hit it, great, but that's not the design point of AAA. Most WWII flak was time fused, so that the shell exploded at a certain time after it left the barrel (and hopefully at the right altitude). More advanced proximity fuses basically use a primitive radar or magnetometer to explode the shell when it passes close to something.

The problem is that you have really fast moving targets and the destructive radius of even a relatively large shell like a 5 incher, is disappointingly small. Consider that if you broke a (roughly) 50lb 5 inch shell into a quarter ounce bits (about the size of 9mm sidearm round - which would be pretty small to do much damage), and that the aircraft had an apparent target surface of 1000 sq ft (this would be somewhat bigger than the planform of an F-15), on average only a *single* one of those 3200 bits of shrapnel would typically hit the target aircraft if you placed the shell 500ft from the target. In practice you'll have bigger shrapnel and go for a shorter distance, and the aircraft won't have that big a target surface.

What you are describing basicly is the "Flak Box" that the Germans used to put up in front of the US bombers in WWII. When they started their bomb run they where committed to straight and level flight.
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LMP737
Posts: 4857
Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: Falklands War And Argentina Airforce

Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:38 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 27):
The Type 42's then only had one water main, which the attack broke, as stated there was a lot of unsuitable material on the ships too.



Quoting GDB (Reply 34):
With more aluminum construction than any other previous ship, the T-21's had little ability to absorb punishment.
But for all that, given their extensive use, it probably is not that surprising that two were lost, they were very much between the attacking aircraft and the landing and logistic ships in San Carlos and therefore bore the brunt of those air-strikes.

Navies are an odd thing. On one hand they have a long institutional memory. On the other hand they sometimes have the memory of a ferret on crack. Both of the US Navy's LCS platforms use aluminum extensively. The USS Independence has a an aluminum hull and superstructure with steel stiffeners in the hull. The USS Freedom has a steel hull and an aluminum superstructure.

History is full of examples where Navies learn lesson and then forget it. Unfortunately it's almost always a young sailor that pays the price.
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