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Harrier Falklands Conundrum

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Harrier Falklands Conundrum

Old 24th Apr 2020, 21:32
  #41 (permalink)  
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Engines, bar the odd blip (it comes to us all) I suspect your memory is better than most.

You should know that, were you ever to publish your memoirs, I bet I am not the only one to have already pre-ordered them from Amazon.
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Old 25th Apr 2020, 06:51
  #42 (permalink)  
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Boss, It's kind of you to say that, but I was way off base and JTO was right - I should have checked more and typed less. My bad, and I'm sincerely sorry.

Best Regards as ever to everybody

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Old 25th Apr 2020, 07:41
  #43 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Gooey View Post

My apologies for a small FI thread drift. Like others, I have done some enforced reading and greatly enjoyed "The RN and the Falklands War" David Brown (sic 1987-sorry don't have the book on me at this moment). It reminded me of numerous air and Joint things from my time. It also made me aware for the first time of the positively huge logistics challenges. As has already been mention, leadership traits come in many forms and I have seen this personally on operational and training flight decks. Mostly from excellent types but a few others.

What was interesting in the book was a claim that late in the war the Type 42/Canberra shoot-down may have been associated with a new ASM using another aircrafts targeting (the book speculated that it was an Israeli Gabriel ASM (possibly EO and not radar guided) using a Canberra as the launch platform and a Mirage III radar for targeting) against HMS Penelope (all recall here is subject to old age and G&T illusions). The Argentine Air Force and Navy, whilst limited in some respects had also shown adaptability in other areas such as Strategic Recce (707s), Long Range Anti-ship (C130 bombers), Land Anti-ship (navy Exocets at Stanley), Decoy and diversion missions (Learjets using the Stanley radar for SHAR warnings), Air Mobility into the FI (C130s in particular) etc.

Has anyone any additional details on this Gabriel ASM speculation?

Finally, I had the privilege as a rather drunk FLTLT to hear CAS Sir Peter at a Dining-In Night mid 90's. God knows how our truckie base got him as the guest speaker but he came across as a true gent.

Happy ANZAC Day!

Having spent some time researching the Penelope incident, I don’t think there is any certain conclusion as to what they thought they saw that night. I have even listened to a recording made on board of the incident, including captains commentary and gunfire. However, the Gábriel missile speculation is just that and is not a weapon that was in the possession of the FAA (Argentine Air Force).

Penelope and Cardiff were both operating in reasonably close proximity to the north of the islands at the time, and the incident was around the time that Cardiff engaged the Canberra. I think maybe it has something to do with the misperception of the objects in the sky at the time including a night time missile launch and an aircraft making its final journey to earth. Having spoken to a member of Cardiff’s crew, and heard his description of how the crew members on deck of Cardiff opened fire with small arms and AA guns at the Sea Darts being launched by Exeter several miles away during the Exocet attack, mistaking them for an Exocet heading their way, in daylight on the 30th May in the confusion of the developing attack and the perception of being in danger, I am inclined to agree with him that probably something similar occurred on Penelope. Whilst he has said as much to some members of Penelope’s crew and been poo-pooed by them as they are convinced they were under attack, I am sure that is somewhere close to the truth. However, I guess we will never know for sure, other than it wasn’t a missile from a Canberra. I believe my sources in Argentina when they say that this was absolutely not a missile of theirs.

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Old 25th Apr 2020, 09:11
  #44 (permalink)  
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Engines - I have to disagree with you about the Hermes at lower deck level at least.
She was known as the Happy H for a very good reason and any social media site on her will bear this out.
Yes, there were some unsavoury characters on her down South, before and after, but all ships have them.
'Screaming Leeming' was one, but people still spin dits about him.
As for 1F they integrated well at squadron level in my books with the obligatory inter service banter not withstanding.
Their pilots across the board were more than willing to explain their sorties and exploits to the maintainers and the same can be said for the 800/899 pilots.
Some of the 800 (899) maintainers were seconded to support 1F, all these guys had been on 700A IFTU and had been at Wittering with the RAF and GR3s prior.
With reference to Lin Middleton his IWM audio memoirs give an insight to his views on 1F and their role.
Also you can pick up the friction between him and the Flag staff and how he wanted to do things from an aviator's perspective and what they wanted with regard to air ops (reels 7&8).
For anyone interested in the conflict the IMW audio tapes provide invaluable information, views and opinions from many of the key players and the various problems they faced at times.
Jeremy Moore's is a treasure trove worth listening to.
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Old 25th Apr 2020, 10:29
  #45 (permalink)  
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Several years ago, Jeremy Moore was a guest speaker & gave a very interesting talk at our (non-military) organisation. His main topic was how to be a good leader and motivator, and he cited situations and examples from his career, including from his time as commandant of the RM school of music. After 45 minutes or so of speaking, he took questions from the audience, & one of these was “how did you deal with the bad leaders”?

All of JM’s other answers were interesting and insightful, but I remember he seemed to fumble about over this one, & he eventually asked the questioner whether he’d answered his question satisfactorily. “Sorry, not really”, was the response, “perhaps I wasn’t clear - I meant how did you deal with leaders who weren’t very good?”.

There was a short pause, & then the penny dropped, & JM responded: “Oh, sorry. I thought you said BAND leaders!”. There were maybe two hundred of us in the audience, & it brought the house down.

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Old 25th Apr 2020, 10:57
  #46 (permalink)  
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Getting the job done

As with most 'accounts' of any campaign a book from a active participant will always convey the writers perspective of events, and will be in the main read by those who have no active knowledge of the situation. To that end Wards book does convey a comprehensive view of both the lead up and eventual conflict 'from the Hot seat'.
He gives good credit to the RAF for the RN Harrier training, and equally is rather scornful of the 'political' side of the Vulcan operation, which he was no fan of. Together with other articles and programs gleaned over the years I can only marvel at the way all the Harrier input was carried out with such skill and determination in such a weather hostile environment that precluded the normal SAR and safety considerations, and indeed the 'Rotary' back up seems to have been second to none. Without getting into arguments re the Black Buck operation viability, again the fact that the RAF managed to assemble a huge tanker based strike with quite old equipment in totally unforeseen circumstances is a great credit to both the tech and flying crews involved, and proves that when required our forces just get on with the job and get it done. The rather sad element that is common to all accounts is that inter service 'issues' still seem to prevail but despite this all the crews at the coal face are still great at Getting the job done despite the enemy fire and the 'bean counters'. Its the people that make the difference and we still have them in all our services.
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Old 26th Apr 2020, 02:10
  #47 (permalink)  
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I mentioned Jeremy Moore's IWM aural history which is good.
An even more insightful one is Julian Thompon's.
If you look for it, he has two, chose the longer one (64 reels) which goes into the land campaign in great details, frustration with his commander, London, inter service rivalry etc.
The Falklands starts around reel 40 and goes on for over 20 reels of approximately 30 minutes each.
I don't think I can post a direct link but in a search put in Julian Thompson IWM 80030363.
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Old 27th Apr 2020, 13:55
  #48 (permalink)  
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Dear all,

thank you for your thoughts far more explanation that I hoped for when i put pixel to screen

It will be really useful as i think through and digest the three books.

The Ethell and Price book is winding it's way down the river as we speak



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Old 27th Apr 2020, 15:03
  #49 (permalink)  
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Dagenham for further reading try:
Falklands: The Air War (ISBN-10: 0853688427) and Wings of the Malvinas (ISBN-10: 1902109228).
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Old 27th Apr 2020, 20:04
  #50 (permalink)  
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Hi AndySmith

I greatly appreciate your reply. IMHO, this is a great example of the fog of war.

The David Brown book also mentioned disbelief from the Task Force about this missile attack (including Cardiff). He published at some length the perspective from Penelope that a ('highly unique' sic) Mirage III RACKET was associated with this incident and implied disbelief with the shot-down Canberra pilots account that he was attacking Mt Kent; however, as you mentioned any super Argentina OPSEC over this incident must be offset by their lack of any public acknowledgement now, decades later.

Again many thanks for your reply.

I have vivid memories of reading about FI many years ago and have hugely enjoyed your and the others peps posts here.
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Old 28th Apr 2020, 19:58
  #51 (permalink)  
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I first came across Peter Squire on 20(AC) Sqn back in the 70s; he was known among us ground crew as one of the good ones, he always had a cheerful word and would even apologize for snagging his ac. Many years later I had the privilege of receiving my Warrant Officer's Parchment from him; he gave me a close look then said "we've served together before, haven't we". I think that was the mark of the man.
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Old 29th Apr 2020, 23:56
  #52 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by tucumseh View Post

I think the set that Ferranti kept may have been B8, as it was later used as the PDS rig. Never been to the factory since 93, so don't know if the new owners display it.
Ferranti (or at least their decendant) had Blue Fox and Blue Vixen sets that they displayed at events, airshows etc aloog with many other heritage radars. Pics of their BF taken at Leuchars in 2012. For a long time the scanner of BF was classified and there were no images of it in the public domain

Last edited by Davef68; 30th Apr 2020 at 00:15.
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 00:20
  #53 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
Great conclusion Engines. Trouble is, just what made you thing the GR3 had been declared in this role or that a GR3 had ever been launched from a ship?

Best I can recall is that a single development Harrier GR1 took part in a ship trial, pre-ski jump, as part of the nascent SHAR programme in the early '70s.
There were early trials on Eagle and Ark Royal, with development aircraft and GR1s (If I recall, No 1 took aircraft onto Ark Royal as a squadron) and later there were a couple of trials on Hermes, on e in 1977 involving both single and twin seat aircraft (A DB aircraft, a GR3, a T4 and G-VTOL embarked).

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Old 30th Apr 2020, 05:29
  #54 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
There were early trials on Eagle and Ark Royal, with development aircraft and GR1s (If I recall, No 1 took aircraft onto Ark Royal as a squadron) and later there were a couple of trials on Hermes, on e in 1977 involving both single and twin seat aircraft (A DB aircraft, a GR3, a T4 and G-VTOL embarked).

Eagle embarked 2 GR1s in March 1970 which made 58 sorties.
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Old 30th Apr 2020, 11:43
  #55 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Engines View Post
At that point, Captain Black came into the conversation, and calmly told CO Hermes that the aircraft was staying down, Hermes needed to get an engine and a change team over here, and that the decision to strike the aircraft down had been made by 'an AEO that I trust absolutely'. He hung up, looked at me for a moment and then said that I was carrying out my duties to his entire satisfaction, and that I was to carry on doing so. That was definitely what some people call 'a life moment'.
And that "life moment" is what some of us call leadership. Nothing would be too much to undertake for a leader of that calibre.

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Old 30th Apr 2020, 15:16
  #56 (permalink)  
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Hi, long time 'lurker' here.

I have just retired in April after 47 years with Ferranti and the too many subsequent names to remember. Started as an apprentice, worked on Blue Fox and Seaspray in the seventies and ended up as Programme Manager for Tornado support (ATTAC, RSAF etc). Anyway, the point of this post is to confirm that Leonardo do indeed have Blue Fox and Vixen radars on display at Crewe Toll. No idea of variants, serial numbers etc, but they are complete. To digress, there are a lot of interesting radars on display there, TNR, Foxhunter, AWG Seaspray etc. They also have, a development set from the TSR2 on display and a blue Parrrot tucked away somewhere. For me though, the restored example of an AI23 is the jewel - it looks like the inside of an Omega watch!


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Old 30th Apr 2020, 15:23
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Welcome on board, Aljonat - I would say that it was well worth the long wait.

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Old 30th Apr 2020, 16:19
  #58 (permalink)  
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Thank you sir.

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Old 1st May 2020, 11:13
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Originally Posted by tucumseh View Post
In my Why was any Ferranti radar good? The design team. But also the superb radar scientists we had at RSRE Malvern, who contributed so much. Also worth mentioning is that in the 70s and early 80s many MoD(PE) project managers had been radar designers. The Fox & Vixen one was brilliant; so too the Kestrel one, who later did Apache. By end-90s, all that expertise was largely gone.

Am I a fan?
I’m just wondering about the “largely gone” bit. As Aljonat points out, Ferranti’s radar design office in Edinburgh is still with us. It’s now part of Leonardo, currently developing a new AESA radar for the Eurofighter.
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Old 1st May 2020, 13:28
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Originally Posted by medod View Post
I’m just wondering about the “largely gone” bit. As Aljonat points out, Ferranti’s radar design office in Edinburgh is still with us. It’s now part of Leonardo, currently developing a new AESA radar for the Eurofighter.

It is not the manufacturer design expertise that is missing. It is a complete lack of SQEP in MoD, as Project Managers and to act as an intelligent client.

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