View Full Version : RAF Stanley
24th Apr 2012, 11:59
Hi everyone, first post
I have just finished a couple of posts on the operational flexibility of the Harrier in 1982
The Atlantic Conveyor #Falklands30 | Think Defence (http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/04/the-atlantic-conveyor-falklands30/)
San Carlos FOB
Harrier Forward Operating Base (http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/04/harrier-forward-operating-base-falkland-islands/)
The last in the mini series is a look at the very early days of RAF Stanley, before the Phantoms arrived.
It is not that well covered, obviously, but an important part of the story and I like looking at things outside the popular subjects.
So this is an appeal to PPRUNE members, can anyone point me to any online or printed resources other than the usual suspects like the IWM, RAF Websites etc for background research?
Would really like any feedback on the posts above as well, I have tried to get them as accurate as possible but there are always errors to correct.
Thanks in advance
26th Apr 2012, 17:07
I have read the conveyor thread and thought it was very good, If I remember correctly what I was told at the time, some of the containers either side of the deck held Civgas and Avtur, though I believe they ruptured on the way south.
26th Apr 2012, 19:23
Bag tanks inside the containers located just forward of the bridge ISTR, chafed due to the ships movement allowing AVTAG fuel to leak out on to the deck and into generator compartments as we transited the Bay of Biscay on the second evening of our voyage south. It was definately squeaky bum time as the MARTSU guys and ourselves (18 Sqn) foamed the deck area whilst the ship was steered round in circles heeling the ship over to assist in washing the tons of fuel over the side.:yuk::yuk::yuk::yuk:
26th Apr 2012, 19:48
Yup what RB told me after he got back from his swim..
26th Apr 2012, 20:00
What happened to all the matting etc from the first Harrier strip? Did some of it go to repairing Mart Withers handiwork?
27th Apr 2012, 17:57
Hello TD, very interesting and informative posts, well researched and with plenty of pics. Bravo Zulu!
27th Apr 2012, 20:26
An interesting read and far be it for me to gossip but.....
Fuel was always a problem even though after MOGAS (motor gasoline) for the Rapier units, AVGAS for the FOB was a top priority. At its peak the FOB dispensed over 50,000 litres of fuel per and supported nearly 120 aircraft movements per day.That is an awful lot of petrol... I know our RAF pilots like to take their sports cars with them whenever they deploy but 50,000litres of petrol per day ;) :)
In my day AVGAS = petrol
A great thread and PLEASE accept my attempt at humour for what it is... You are probably correct and I am just confused
28th Apr 2012, 08:09
Try 3(F) Sqn at Coningsby. They certainly had a diary covering their stint down there in the history cabinet. Lots of photo's and banter in what looked like very primative conditions.
28th Apr 2012, 11:07
Thanks everyone for your kind words.
On the AVGAS thing, yes, does seem strange on reflection. I took that snippet of information from an Inst of Civil Engineering paper written in 1983 by three Royal Engineer officers.
The Rapiers definitely needed petrol for their generators and I understand they were top priority, a Sea King flight each day was allocated just for their fuel.
Am I correct in thinking AVGAS is for piston engined aircraft and therefore not a great deal of use for the Harriers and numerous helicopters that the refueling equipment at the FOB used.
Perhaps it was a mistake that I have repeated but I can definatily believe 50,000L per day across all aircraft, not just Harriers, that used it.
One of the questions I had was about the matting used, there are a number of sources out there that say different things. Having looked at a number of different photos I think the vertical landing spot and main runway was AM2 but the small taxi way was not, maybe PSP, trackway or helicopter matting off one of the ships.
As I said though, am working on the last one in the series about the very early days of RAF Stanley when the Royal Engineers built up the facilities and repaired the bomb damage so any information would be gratefully received.
At least to me, this shows the tremendous flexibility of the STOVL model and something we might consider in the F35B F35C debate
28th Apr 2012, 11:22
Yes you are correct AVGAS is High Octane petrol for Piston Engines, where as Turbine engines use AVTUR FSII, AVCAT and AVTAG or when uplifting from civil airports normally Jet A1.:ok:
28th Apr 2012, 12:38
Hi Think Defence,
Thank you for taking my post in the spirit it was meant, I for one hate criticising folks when they have worked hard on a project but in this instance you did state:
Would really like any feedback on the posts above as well, I have tried to get them as accurate as possible but there are always errors to correct.
So your wish was my command. I am surprised to hear the RAF use petrol generators but being ex Royal Navy I know absolutely NOTHING about those issues, we tend to treat petrol with the greatest of respect and very rarely use it aboard a ship (outboard motors being the exception that might make the rule)
I loved reading your diary extracts and thanks once more for the posts
28th Apr 2012, 15:53
PSP for the whole thing or just sections.
If you look at the images on the post the runway surface looks smooth which screams AM2 not PSP.
Were you there?
Glojo, seriously, I don't anyone being critical because it is only through that mechanism that the accuracy of the post can be improved.
I am going to amend the AVGAS section for definite now so thank you.
28th Apr 2012, 16:25
The RE's, by the way, are an outstanding bunch of folk, who rarely, IMHO, ever get their due recognition. Their tea is the best ever!! And always available, no matter where or when!!
IIRC there's a quote in "Don't Cry for Me Sergeant Major" where a party of RM storm a hill in the Falklands only to find a Sapper comfortably ensconced offering them 'a wet'!!!
The original 'can do' section of the UK Armed Forces:ok:
29th Apr 2012, 10:22
I am surprised to hear the RAF use petrol generators
Glojo, when I joined in 1976, there was a good mix of petrol and diesel engined equipment. By the time I left in 1985, our ground equipment was almost entirely run on diesel engines. My memory is a little faded, but I seem to remember towing around 2 bowsers on Ascension to refuel the ground equipment so one must have been petrol, (there was no diesel, so 1/99 motor oil/avtur was an excellent substitute). The Regiment had their own ground equipment guys and from what I remember the screamer generators they used were petrol, but a lot of l4nd rov3rs were still had petrol engines so perhaps not such a big issue back then. I would think that now, the Armed Forces use diesel to fuel all their engine run equipment, with only a few exceptions. All the ground equipment I used since then, when working abroad, has been diesel engined.
One garage owner told me that in 2001 when Agfannystan kicked off, the rise in diesel prices was attributable to the sudden increase in demand from the military.
29th Apr 2012, 12:04
I think it was about 1999 the single fuel concept can into being. This called for all machinery to be able to run on a single fuel type - Kerosene / avaiation fuel. This was certainly the case in Gulf War II although I had difficulty trying to explain to a few peopel that avaiation fuel was very similar to diesel.
Hello, to you all, Greetings from Argentina!
Iīve read this article of yours about FOB San Carlos. Finally threīs something clearly written on this topic.
Iīve been trying to come up with a single text on the very same topics youīre trying to cover (FOB San Carlos & RAF Stanley - the early days) and have only been able to get no more than 3,000 words on all that.
Iīll gladly share the sources I got to with you just in case you need them.
By for now
15th May 2012, 07:11
In 85, Rapier Dets around Stanley had petrol-driven generators. We got to drop one from a Gazelle, and so I can confirm their fragility. We weren't invited back.
15th May 2012, 07:33
I read your linked articles and was really impressed, actually brought a little bit of a lump to the throat - how ridiculous of me.
Anyway, having spent about 18 months in total on the Falklands I remember that there was alot of photographs and info at MPA/in Stanley on the subject you are requesting information about.
Any thoughts on touching base with the station commander down there and seeing if he or his appointed minion can point you in the right direction?
20th Jan 2013, 21:16
Just noticed your thread and joined to reply hope you are still interested. I went to the Falklands in July 82, VC10 to Ascension few hours later Herc to Port Stanley all 14 hours of it.
I was in MT and delivered the matting for the runway at Port Stanley, which i believe we were fetching from a ship in the harbour, if memory serves me correct it was AM 2, and i vividly remember delivering direct to the runway which was closed at the time and it being laid by Ghurkas in fact they could lay a lorry load before i could return with the next load. The runway was closed for about 4 weeks the RE,s did all the engineering work. If I can be of any more help feel free to contact me.
28th Feb 2013, 21:18
Trucker, just checked back into this thread and noticed your offer.
Cheers for that.
Have just completed a three parter on the runway at Port Stanley. It started out as a look at the post conflict aspects but quickly developed into something much broader including putting my head into the lions mouth that is Black Buck
PART 1 - PRE CONFLICT
That Famous Runway at Port Stanley (http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/02/that-famous-runway-at-port-stanley-part-1-pre-conflict/)
PART 2 - CONFLICT
That Famous Runway at Port Stanley (http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/02/that-famous-runway-at-stanley-part-2-conflict/)
PART 3 - POST CONFLICT
That Famous Runway at Stanley (http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/02/that-famous-runway-at-stanley-part-3-post-conflict/)
As with the first post on this thread, always interested in views and corrections
28th Feb 2013, 22:38
If you're on Facebook have a look here https://www.facebook.com/groups/coastel1/
1st Mar 2013, 11:39
San Carlos FOB aka HMS Sheathbill !
1st Mar 2013, 14:06
If you would like me to translate your website into Spanish, I'd be happy to do it for you.
1st Mar 2013, 16:11
I recon it must have been AM2 as I had to do a rush job as a tp at Boscombe Down. It was to take a Nimrod out to 29 Palms via Yuma, where the Yanks had a full AM2 runway laid, in order to formally assess its sutability before we signed the cheque. I was given to understand that the ship with the matting on board was already enroute. We had a Herc support - I also had to check that that could cope as well. Heavens knows why! It was great fun though - the locals were very friendly. The Marines were in awe of our success in kicking the Argies out with such a numerical disadvantage.
Pontifex - It was to take a Nimrod out to 29 Palms via Yuma
I was on that trip. We left BD on 25 Jun 82 and returned on 04 Jul 82, with Ernie B the captain of XV227. When we operated off the AM2 the BD chaps wanted the aircraft as heavy as possible, but not to spend hours in the air with all that fuel - so, the solution was to nip behind a convenient hill and dump as much as possible. The US Marine in charge of the fuel farm was amazed at how thirsty RR Speys were....
1st Mar 2013, 16:33
Stanley's extention was AM2.
1st Mar 2013, 17:17
By 1985 a lot of the AM2 friction surface had worn off, which made crosswind landings after the runway had been de-iced just a tiny bit sporting.
1st Mar 2013, 17:42
So just how long was the temporary runway extention supposed to last?
1st Mar 2013, 18:11
When I did my 4 mths MPA had just opened and 1312 Flt were flying the odd heavy load in as it was easier than a road move. Apart from that MPA was emergency (and Tristar/Jumbo only). Handy runway in an emergency though, once the painters left the runway.
Courtney Mil: it was supposed to stand no more than three years, according to some RE whose papers Iīve read.
It managed to last a bit longer. But by then MPAīs main runway had been opened, the apron was almost finished and work on the second runway was well underway.
18th May 2013, 21:03
Ooh, didn't expect to see this thread reappear, bt am very glad thad it has. Very interested to hear more.
I have to say, that three years isn't a bad spell for the AM2 matting. Thanks for letting me know, CAW.
Three years itīs not bad at all!!
The thing is that the whole runway at RAF Stanley was re-surfaced with AM2... thatīs something like 6000 fts long, plus aprons and taxing ways... meaning a lot a matting!!
Did you know that tha FAA (Argentinean Air Force) had used the very same AM2 10 years before at Hookerīs Point runway? In fact some of the argentinean AM2 had been left behind when Pembrokeīs runway was opened in 1978 and they were used during the time of BAM Malvinas to extend the apron area, and create a few acceses to the runway from the sides of it.
I always wondered wether that matting had also been used by the RE in their Aug/Sept 82 work...
19th May 2013, 05:51
That's why am I getting a 403 error access forbidden to this server on my home machine.
19th May 2013, 10:31
When was the entire Stanley runway matted? I clearly recall the extention, access ways and hard standings, but not the original runway. Mind you, it was 31 years ago now.
19th May 2013, 12:19
Courtney I'm pretty sure the runway was completely matted by the time I was detached there in Dec 82. Near the end of our 6month detachment it was decided to remove and re-lay the first third of the runway, as the tiles had "slid " forward with all the constant use. The Royal Engineers were in charge of the job, but there was a fair sized RAF presence on the task. Myself and a few other guys from GSE were tasked with putting in the wiring for the lights. As the tiles were laid from one side to the other, at a certain point it all ground to a halt as we needed to run cable in from the edge to the centre. This gave the guys laying it a wee break, as they weren't hanging about doing it. During this the runway was unusable for the Phantoms, so the Harriers were doing the "Q" thing. A couple of times a Herc did get airborne, while the work was in progress. The tiles were all stacked up on the runway near where the work started. The first time a Herc took of, it blew these tiles off the stacks. After that the forklifts were placed in front of them with the forks down on the stacks. I can't actually remember seeing a Herc landing back at Stanley while the work was on-going, but it must have been an interesting experience for the crews.
There was a story going round that landings were to be balanced out, so that both ends were used, to prevent this slippage from happening, but in the 6 months I was there, I can recall only a few occasions when aircraft landed from the Stanley end.
19th May 2013, 15:23
The Think Defence website is down for maintenance \ refurbishment at the moment. Don't know when it will be back. They are on Twitter @<hidden>
19th May 2013, 15:37
Thank you, Dan. Good story, well told:ok:
I must admit, I had forgotten that. I left the first time just before Christmas 1982 so I guess the refurb was after that.
19th May 2013, 16:29
I was there from early July to November 1982. The entire runway was laid with AM2, I think about September. I remember that the RE had considerable difficulty repairing the bomb crater between the Control Tower and the FiGAS hangar and the repair was delayed several days whilst they extracted a bulldozer which had been pushing hard core into the hole.
Although the RE were in charge of the laying of the AM2, any RAF personnel who could drive a 3 tonner were pressed into service to transport the AM2 from the port to the airfield.
19th May 2013, 16:33
Thanks. Shows how much attention I paid to the runway I was using. As long as it worked, it was fine by me.
19th May 2013, 16:37
Hopefully your lack of attention was more about the runway surface than the runway itself!:eek: Useful to give it some regard, especailly during take off and landing.
19th May 2013, 17:10
Top tip, M2. Why didn't they tell me that earlier?
may I ask if you refer to the crater shown on the picture linked below? (I mean not the one on the runway side, but the second one which has a written indication that I canīt actually get to read)
when you say this:
"I remember that the RE had considerable difficulty repairing the bomb crater between the Control Tower and the FiGAS hangar and the repair was delayed several days whilst they extracted a bulldozer which had been pushing hard core into the hole."
can you tell us which one of the craters shown in the picture linked below are you talking about?? (Iīd guess itīs the one which has a written note, below the runway...)
20th May 2013, 06:51
Have been doing a spot of redesign and the site is back on now
Thanks for everyone's input, really valuable.
The series is complete now, it was originally a three parter; Atlantic Conveyor, San Carlos FoB and Port Stanley Airport but the last one kind of grew as I started writing it to include Black Buck and RAF Stanley
A trilogy in 5 parts!
The Atlantic Conveyor #Falklands30 | Think Defence (http://thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/04/the-atlantic-conveyor-falklands30/)
Harrier Forward Operating Base ? Falkland Islands | Think Defence (http://thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/04/harrier-forward-operating-base-falkland-islands/)
And on Port Stanley
That Famous Runway at Port Stanley ? Part 1 (Pre Conflict) | Think Defence (http://thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/02/that-famous-runway-at-port-stanley-part-1-pre-conflict/)
That Famous Runway at Port Stanley ? Part 2 (Conflict) | Think Defence (http://thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/02/that-famous-runway-at-stanley-part-2-conflict/)
That Famous Runway at Port Stanley ? Part 3 (Post Conflict) | Think Defence (http://thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/02/that-famous-runway-at-stanley-part-3-post-conflict/)
On my original question about San Carlos FoB, it seems the runway surface was pretty much anything the sappers could lay their hands on; MEXE pads, PSP and the materials they used for helicopter landing pads onboard the civilian ships.
Feedback, as ever, is always very much welcome
20th May 2013, 08:56
Tried all five links, all came back forbidden on this server. Is there a problem?
20th May 2013, 10:08
ColinB the links worked on my PC.
20th May 2013, 12:10
The crater I was referring to is the third black arrow up from bottom left.
20th May 2013, 12:43
I arrived in Stanley in early 1985 and was intrigued to find that the entrance to the HQBFFI mess at Lookout (assorted tents and cabins) had a floor made of AM2 matting. Having been involved in the procurement and movement of said matting I reckoned that it was without doubt the most expensive mess entrance anywhere in the 3 services!
20th May 2013, 19:17
Sorry about any access problems, have just transferred to a new host so the DNS needs to propagate.
Interestingly, had a comment on one of the posts from Dave Morgan DSC which confirms the San Carlos FOB runway was PSA 1.
One of the great things about this kind of material is how it provides an opportunity for people to contribute to the accuracy of the post I am very grateful for it.
Iīve writing my own account of airfields and planes in the Malvinas for over two years now. If it all goes according to my plans, it might be turning into a book late this year.
Regarding FOB San Carlos, I remember reading somewhere that the matting used there was gathered out of the existance that some RFA ships had, since most of the actual FOB sunk with the Atlantic Conveyor. How accurate could this be?
Also, Iīd like to ask if anyone has information regarding a second FOB erected sometime between southern winter 1982 and late 1983 in the Goose Green area.
One last note: there is some information about RN SHARs taking up the interception role around August 1982, maybe due to the fact that RAF Stanley had to suffer major refurbishing works, or maybe because of some harrasment from the west. I tend to believe those planes were based in some CV, but I failed to find out which one. Could it be Vince?
21st May 2013, 00:03
ISTR several lengths of AM2 being used at Murray Heights as bridges, as well as a second-hand UH-1 main rotor blade.