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RAGATIGER

RAF Phantom FGR.2 in Falklands War

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On 7/3/2019 at 8:52 PM, Selwyn said:

 Sorry mate but I have to disagree.

 

I believe   as the only viable supply staging point  between the UK and the Falklands, Ascension was a vulnerable  point  and  critical to the success of the campaign.  Argentinian Recce  aircraft (707?)  are known to have tracked the  task force  from Ascension to the Falklands  So  the Argentine air effort  however minimal reached out that far, so it was probably prudent to  deploy  some air defence of the island.

And of course in this  you are saying the  Victor tankers  supporting  Vulcan air strikes originating from Ascension's Wideawake airfield didn't count as participation in the "Shooting" war? Even though it was 4000 miles away.

 

Selwyn

Of course Ascension was a vital cog.  And I wouldn’t be so offensive as to belittle the efforts of the Victors, which repeatedly (hint) flew into harm’s way (unhint) thousands of miles South of Ascension - and not only as tankers; e.g. an important radar recce of the area North of South Georgia in the lead-up to Op Paraquat, amongst many others.

 

Yes, the Argentinians used a 707 to try to locate / track the carriers as they sailed South.  But they didn’t get anywhere near Ascension - Simon Hargreaves intercepted the first of these at least 1,000 miles South of Ascension.  Not to mention the fact that by the time the Tooms deployed [24 May] the Argies knew damn well we were, because they'd been attacking the carrier element for over 3 weeks, and bombing the amphibious element for 4 days.

 

I’ll even agree that Ascension was - at least in theory - vulnerable.  But from the air?  What exactly were the Argentinians going to attack Ascension with from the air by the final week of May 82?  25 de Mayo wouldn’t have got a tenth of the way there before being sunk by an SSN, and by that stage all her attack aircraft had long since been disembarked ashore anyway.  Were they miraculously going to generate some sort of multi-tanker AAR capability out of nothing?  And even if they did, why would they use it to attack Ascension when they were desperately trying to sink a carrier an awful lot nearer home?

 

This is not about inter-Service rivalry.  The Air Force made numerous important contributions to the war - many of them (such as Nimrod R1 sorties from West of Chile) only recently admitted.  But Phantom air defenders, in my opinion, were not “involved” in the Falklands War [the original phrase] in the normal , generally understood meaning of that phrase.  This is how myths grow up.

 

HMS Battleaxe was “involved” to about the same extent - she transferred anything that she could move to Broadsword in early April, then went home and was quickly brought back up to mechanical scratch for later deployment.  In other words she was in deep support, many thousands of miles away.  Not “involved”.

 

Selwyn & I are not going to agree on this, I sense.

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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1 hour ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

Of course Ascension was a vital cog.  And I wouldn’t be so offensive as to belittle the efforts of the Victors, which repeatedly (hint) flew into harm’s way (unhint) thousands of miles South of Ascension - and not only as tankers; e.g. an important radar recce of the area North of South Georgia in the lead-up to Op Paraquat, amongst many others.

 

Yes, the Argentinians used a 707 to try to locate / track the carriers as they sailed South.  But they didn’t get anywhere near Ascension - Simon Hargreaves intercepted the first of these at least 1,000 miles South of Ascension.  Not to mention the fact that by the time the Tooms deployed [24 May] the Argies knew damn well we were, because they'd been attacking the carrier element for over 3 weeks, and bombing the amphibious element for 4 days.

 

I’ll even agree that Ascension was - at least in theory - vulnerable.  But from the air?  What exactly were the Argentinians going to attack Ascension with from the air by the final week of May 82?  25 de Mayo wouldn’t have got a tenth of the way there before being sunk by an SSN, and by that stage all her attack aircraft had long since been disembarked ashore anyway.  Were they miraculously going to generate some sort of multi-tanker AAR capability out of nothing?  And even if they did, why would they use it to attack Ascension when they were desperately trying to sink a carrier an awful lot nearer home?

 

This is not about inter-Service rivalry.  The Air Force made numerous important contributions to the war - many of them (such as Nimrod R1 sorties from West of Chile) only recently admitted.  But Phantom air defenders, in my opinion, were not “involved” in the Falklands War [the original phrase] in the normal , generally understood meaning of that phrase.  This is how myths grow up.

 

HMS Battleaxe was “involved” to about the same extent - she transferred anything that she could move to Broadsword in early April, then went home and was quickly brought back up to mechanical scratch for later deployment.  In other words she was in deep support, many thousands of miles away.  Not “involved”.

 

Selwyn & I are not going to agree on this, I sense.

FAAWAFU

 Please don't get me wrong I have not any interest in inter- service rivalry whatsoever,  my  experience on working with FAA personnel, many of which I knew from the days they spent with the RAF at Wittering where they were gaining Harrier experience before the SHAR  squadrons became operational was more than positive.  Reading the histories  there appeared to be friction at senior officer level, I never saw that in any way at the work face.   I believe one of the key points always overlooked when The Falklands war is debated  is that  many of the  the RAF and FAA ground crew  knew  each other , had already worked together, and on that basis were already very much a team before the carriers sailed.  All services  involved in the Falklands campaign  played their part fully,  and collectively   worked together to achieve  success. 

 My point is the campaign  stretched from Portsmouth to the islands, a long way, and I believe anyone who took part in that effort from the dock workers at Portsmouth to the front line soldier  were Involved and a full part of  it. All contributors, however small, to that success.

In terms of the air defence of Ascension,  obviously someone somewhere  thought there was a potential threat, they would not have deployed the Phantom to Ascension  otherwise,  and although we now know there was little or no  threat,  at that  time we didn't, and  It is good planning to expect the unexpected. The Phantoms were not involved in the shooting war in the same way you refer to HMS Battleaxe but they were both very much in their small way part of the campaign. 

 

Selwyn

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The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.

 

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1 hour ago, Tramatoa said:

The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.

 

And I would still scoff the lot!

Selwyn

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On 07/07/2019 at 11:57, Selwyn said:

 My point is the campaign  stretched from Portsmouth to the islands, a long way, and I believe anyone who took part in that effort from the dock workers at Portsmouth to the front line soldier  were Involved and a full part of  it. All contributors, however small, to that success.

I agree but perhaps a bit further than from Portsmouth, the high number of flying hours meant that the Victors were having to return to Marham for servicing, came into shed on a Friday and back to Ascension by Tuesday.  Plus a trial to hang a Martel anti-radar missile on a Victor outboard refuelling pylon position to take out enemy radar, however the blast from a Martel A/R warhead would have taken out half of the roofs in Stanley, where the Argies placed their radar.  Waddington carried out the same fitment on a Vulcan, the problem was with the warhead size, that is why Shrikes were obtained for the Vulcan Black Buck missions.

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On ‎7‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 7:20 PM, PLC1966 said:

The key to this all is that the RAF didn't decide to buy 15 Phantom F-4J's from superplus at David Montan AFB (some were blue and some were grey, as the squadron song went, but that's another story) to replace 3 FGR.2s.

 

......and the fear was once the RAF got their hands on the F-15, it was that much of a better aircraft than the Tornado Fighter, attempts would be made to terminate the Tornado Fighter before it reached Front Line Service.......  

 

 

A tale me thinks......… Surely, the "RAF" would already have known how good the F15 was through exchange pilots, through exercises, through reading the specs (I'd imagine the F15 was at least an RFI for the Interceptor requirement. It's not like we're not close allies and such!

 

The F3, for better or worse was designed to meet a requirement for a long range interceptor (operating way out over the North Sea) with associated radar, equipment and weapons performance), and ultimately to operate a second fleet type, to modify for probe and drogue would have been highly prohibitive vs a Tornado fleet.

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I think this thread is now getting waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off topic.

 

Mike

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6 hours ago, Agent K said:

 

A tale me thinks......… Surely, the "RAF" would already have known how good the F15 was through exchange pilots, through exercises, through reading the specs (I'd imagine the F15 was at least an RFI for the Interceptor requirement. It's not like we're not close allies and such!

 

The F3, for better or worse was designed to meet a requirement for a long range interceptor (operating way out over the North Sea) with associated radar, equipment and weapons performance), and ultimately to operate a second fleet type, to modify for probe and drogue would have been highly prohibitive vs a Tornado fleet.

Which is why I prefaced my comment about the offer as a rumour. 

 

We've had Aircrew on any number of platforms and know how good or bad they were and still did not buy them. 

 

I guess the thought process would have been that we would have been flying probably the most capable Air Superiority Fighter available at that time (the F-15) and then replacing it with an inferior aircraft (the Tornado F2/F3).  I get that the Tornado was a Long Range Missile platform to take out Bear & Blackjacks coming round the top, but it would not have been a popular jet to be sat in had our Warsaw Pact friends come West through Central Europe.

 

Once their hands were on the F-15, the Fighter Mafia would only have let them go when they were ripped out of their cold (allowing for the Silk Inner and Leather Outer Flying Gloves) dead fingers. 

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On ‎7‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 9:18 AM, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

 

 

The Air Force made numerous important contributions to the war - many of them (such as Nimrod R1 sorties from West of Chile) only recently admitted.  But Phantom air defenders, in my opinion, were not “involved” in the Falklands War [the original phrase] in the normal , generally understood meaning of that phrase.  This is how myths grow up.

 

Canberra Recce from South American Countries as well, maybe...

 

But I would be interested in the rational of having Phantoms on ASI, was it for keeping an eye out for Argentine 707 or was to do with keeping Russians Jets from gathering Int if they had a free reign ? An unknown sub was supposed to have been seen and hunted and it was assumed to have been Russian.  

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44 minutes ago, PLC1966 said:

An unknown sub was supposed to have been seen and hunted and it was assumed to have been Russian.  

There was an interesting story in the book Razors Edge by Hugh Bicheno (I think) when the British were puzzled by the sudden disappearance of the Argentine Navy. At the UN in New York an unnamed Soviet Admiral breezed last the British delegation with the comment, “I hope you found the Soviet Navy helpful.”, or words to that effect. 

 

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11 hours ago, PLC1966 said:

Which is why I prefaced my comment about the offer as a rumour. 

 

We've had Aircrew on any number of platforms and know how good or bad they were and still did not buy them. 

 

I guess the thought process would have been that we would have been flying probably the most capable Air Superiority Fighter available at that time (the F-15) and then replacing it with an inferior aircraft (the Tornado F2/F3).  I get that the Tornado was a Long Range Missile platform to take out Bear & Blackjacks coming round the top, but it would not have been a popular jet to be sat in had our Warsaw Pact friends come West through Central Europe.

 

Once their hands were on the F-15, the Fighter Mafia would only have let them go when they were ripped out of their cold (allowing for the Silk Inner and Leather Outer Flying Gloves) dead fingers. 

Sorry, yes, I hear what you are saying!

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15 hours ago, PLC1966 said:

. . . . .  or was to do with keeping Russians Jets from gathering Int if they had a free reign ?

 

They were certainly around according to an acquaintance who as a Royal Marine sailed south in one of the liners and as being well known as an aviation enthusiast was called to the bridge to identify a high flying Bear that was nosing around.

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On 7/2/2019 at 10:30 PM, Selwyn said:

Barley grey is incorrectly used and abused  many a time, and was never an official colour, it was the name used originally when the colour was being developed. BS 381c 626 is called Camouflage Grey. (My source is my copy of BS381c!)

 

Selwyn

 

If we are being pedantic,  the colour wasn't in BS381C in 1983 (It came in in the 1988 revision, which also introduced Hemp as Camouflage Beige ) but was referenced as Grey BS4800 18B21 in AP 101B-0900-1B

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On 7/9/2019 at 12:33 PM, Des said:

 

They were certainly around according to an acquaintance who as a Royal Marine sailed south in one of the liners and as being well known as an aviation enthusiast was called to the bridge to identify a high flying Bear that was nosing around.

The Bears were operating out of Angola and were regular visitors during the passage South.  Unsurprisingly, once we got beyond a certain point they left us well alone.  

 

The Russians wanted to know as much as possible about our operations, for pretty obvious reasons.  After the wall came down I somewhat surreally found myself sharing a beer in Hamburg with a retired Soviet era SSN Captain (who was working in the embassy bu then, I am sure with absolutely no intelligence gathering function whatsoever).  He said that when we sailed the Russian view was that it couldn’t be done - which was most people’s view, including (though they deny it nowadays) the RAF and Army.  According to this guy - and I had no reason to doubt him - they were very impressed with how we actually did it.

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8 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

The Bears were operating out of Angola and were regular visitors during the passage South.  Unsurprisingly, once we got beyond a certain point they left us well alone.  

 

The Russians wanted to know as much as possible about our operations, for pretty obvious reasons.  After the wall came down I somewhat surreally found myself sharing a beer in Hamburg with a retired Soviet era SSN Captain (who was working in the embassy bu then, I am sure with absolutely no intelligence gathering function whatsoever).  He said that when we sailed the Russian view was that it couldn’t be done - which was most people’s view, including (though they deny it nowadays) the RAF and Army.  According to this guy - and I had no reason to doubt him - they were very impressed with how we actually did it.

The Russian and me agree on that one😉

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Chris Parry's book about his Wessex Observer experiences in the Falklands tells of their encounter with an unidentifed submarine which couldn't have been Argentine

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On the F-15 versus Tornado ADV question, the F-15A Had already been considered and rejected due to the perceived vulnerabilities of the APG-63 to ECM, It's single seat configuration and the lack of 60 degree Track While Scan capabilities. The Tornado was designed as a Bomber killer, not a dogfighter. 

I heartily recommend David Gledhill's book "Tornado F3 in focus" as his background as operator and MOD Desk officer provide a brilliant perspective on the Mighty Fin, and the winding road that it took to become (at it's demise) a very capable weapon system.

 

Here's a clipping from Flight International that may be of interest:

 https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1978/1978 - 1979.PDF

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10 hours ago, Troffa said:

On the F-15 versus Tornado ADV question, the F-15A Had already been considered and rejected due to the perceived vulnerabilities of the APG-63 to ECM, It's single seat configuration and the lack of 60 degree Track While Scan capabilities. The Tornado was designed as a Bomber killer, not a dogfighter. 

 

In the early evaluations the F14 was considered close to the RAF requirements, but was twice as expensive as the Tornado ADV.

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12 hours ago, Dave Fleming said:

 

In the early evaluations the F14 was considered close to the RAF requirements, but was twice as expensive as the Tornado ADV.

Looked into this a while back and apparently that was without including the cost of Phoenix missiles if the US released them for UK use.

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On ‎7‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 12:29 PM, Troffa said:

Here's a clipping from Flight International that may be of interest:

 https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1978/1978 - 1979.PDF

Just as interesting is the other article in this clipping - USAF axes the remotely piloted vehicle.

 

How times have changed.....

 

And with that the thread has gone so off course the original question is but a faint dot on the far horizon!🤣

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The entire Flight archive is fascinating, and searchable!  There goes a few hours...

 

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