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Target Designation In The Falklands

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Target Designation In The Falklands

Old 5th Aug 2021, 19:29
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Target Designation In The Falklands

My brother-in-law works as groundcrew at Cranwell.

A colleague states that he was on the ground during the Falkland war designating targets with a “device” for incoming jets.

Did we have/use that capability then?
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 19:35
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I know it’s Wikipedia but….

“The RAF's first [email protected] designators were Westinghouse Electric CorporationPave Spike pods fitted to Blackburn Buccaneers which entered service in 1979.[1] However as these were limited to daylight use, the Ministry of Defence initiated studies for a new [email protected] designator.[1] The first operational use of LGBs by the UK's armed forces were the RAF Harrier attacks on Argentine forces during the Falklands War. However, [email protected] designation for these attacks was carried out by a forward air controller using a ground designator.[1]

Ref 1 Ripley, Tim (October 2000). "Laser Bombers". Airforces Monthly. Key Publishing.“

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Old 5th Aug 2021, 20:33
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Page 106

https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/documen...s-Campaign.pdf

For its attack tasks, the GR3 carried and delivered a variety of weapons, including cluster bombs, 2-inch rockets, 1000 lb bombs and, in due course, the [email protected] guided bomb. The cluster bomb had a marked effect against troops in defensive positions, both in terms of casualties and in the lowering of morale. This was particularly true in the battle for Goose Green where missions flown in close support of 2PARA had a significant effect on the outcome of that battle. It was also a highly effective weapon against storage areas, such as fuel, and against helicopters caught on the ground.
Regrettably, the full potential of the LGB could not be made use of until just one day before the ceasefire. It was not until then that the [email protected] target markers were positioned at the right time and place. However, four bombs delivered from loft profiles that day achieved two direct hits on pin-point targets and served notice to the Argentineans that we now had a weapon of extreme accuracy.
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 20:47
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Thanks for that. First I’ve heard of their use.
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Old 5th Aug 2021, 21:40
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I learnt something too, they robbed the Duxford VC10 of its engines as they had time remaining on them.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 02:47
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Originally Posted by MightyGem View Post
My brother-in-law works as groundcrew at Cranwell.

A colleague states that he was on the ground during the Falkland war designating targets with a “device” for incoming jets.

Did we have/use that capability then?
Did gentlemen with moustaches and mad staring eyes from Stirling Lines do that job?
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 05:12
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I'd love to hear Mogwi's opinion on this.

Regrettably, the full potential of the LGB could not be made use of until just one day before the ceasefire. It was not until then that the [email protected] target markers were positioned at the right time and place. However, four bombs delivered from loft profiles that day achieved two direct hits on pin-point targets and served notice to the Argentineans that we now had a weapon of extreme accuracy.

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Old 6th Aug 2021, 08:08
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Yes, this is correct. We initially tried to attack the airfield using a GR3 designating and a SHAR lofting the weapons but the LRTM on the GR3 was not compatible with the seeker heads and the bombs continued on a ballistic trajectory.

The first successful attacks were carried out with FAC designation on 13th June, when OC1(F) took out a company HQ on Mount Tumbledown and another pilot turned a 155mm gun into a swimming pool a little later. On 14th June, Bomber H was about to deliver a couple more when the white flags went up.

Mog

Last edited by Mogwi; 6th Aug 2021 at 08:20.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 09:20
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So combining what Mogwi knows and that the 5th Infantry Brigade had two FAC's, this colleaque must've been in one of the two? (source for the number of FAC's: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britis..._Falklands_War )

Originally Posted by MightyGem View Post
A colleague states that he was on the ground during the Falkland war designating targets with a “device” for incoming jets.
Originally Posted by Mogwi View Post
The first successful attacks were carried out with FAC designation on 13th June, when OC1(F) took out a company HQ on Mount Tumbledown and another pilot turned a 155mm gun into a swimming pool a little later.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 10:22
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A story I found whilst looking up the subject, and a fatality of which I was unaware. RIP.

https://sama82.org.uk/hawkinsgw/
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 12:37
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Originally Posted by MightyGem View Post
My brother-in-law works as groundcrew at Cranwell.

A colleague states that he was on the ground during the Falkland war designating targets with a “device” for incoming jets.

Did we have/use that capability then?
The Falklands War was 39 years ago. How old is his colleague?
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 15:34
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A story I found whilst looking up the subject, and a fatality of which I was unaware. RIP.
Others will know way better than me ORAC, but I believe that to be the only RAF casualty of the Falklands War, a forward air controller, and whose loss, and the the way the RAF filled the gap, had a rippling effect throughout the service leading to some very far reaching consequences, which ended up affecting all of us who served at that time.

A memorial to the guy who I believe replaced Flt Lt Hawkins can be found just a few miles from where I type this. His story has always been of considerable interest to me, but I leave it to others, better informed than me, to fill the gaps if they so wish.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 16:57
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Garth was a mountain of a man with a huge heart. He was also the very best FAC that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He took it very personally if he failed to talk you onto the target (which hardly ever happened). When he decided to retire, the SAS persuaded him to stay as their own tame FAC.

I had spent the afternoon before he was killed, finalising IPs with him on East Falkland to facilitate CAS in the up-coming ground battle. He, amongst many other Specials had delayed until the last Sea King transfer to finalise plans for the landings and their sneaky part in them. A tragic loss made even worse by the fact that he had planned a huge p-u in his Oxfordshire pub after the conflict was over!

Tales of Garth are many but a couple spring to mind. After one FAC training mission in Belize (your target is a red combine harvester), he returned fuming because one of our pilots had beaten up his Land Rover. It wasn’t the “nought feet” flyby that annoyed him but the fact that the pilot had had the fuel dumps on! Cost said pilot many beers.

In the same location he used smoke (I see your green smoke!) as a target acquisition aid and was afterwards asked by the Belizean farmer why he had thrown a smoke grenade into his best hash field.

I don’t know what he was like as a transport pilot but as a man and a friend he ranked with the best.

Mog
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 17:00
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Originally Posted by Mogwi View Post
Yes, this is correct. We initially tried to attack the airfield using a GR3 designating and a SHAR lofting the weapons but the LRTM on the GR3 was not compatible with the seeker heads and the bombs continued on a ballistic trajectory.

The first successful attacks were carried out with FAC designation on 13th June, when OC1(F) took out a company HQ on Mount Tumbledown and another pilot turned a 155mm gun into a swimming pool a little later. On 14th June, Bomber H was about to deliver a couple more when the white flags went up.

Mog
Hi Mogs.

One of those things I have often wondered, but never asked..... what weapons were the [email protected] Rangefinder and Marked Target Seekers on the GR3 compatible with in 1982?
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 18:42
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Originally Posted by AndySmith View Post
Hi Mogs.

One of those things I have often wondered, but never asked..... what weapons were the [email protected] Rangefinder and Marked Target Seekers on the GR3 compatible with in 1982?
Hi Andy,

The LRMTS was used to give the weapon aiming kit an accurate slant range, which allowed weapons to be dropped more accurately. These could be (as far as I remember) any of the weapons carried by the Harrier. The target seeker mode allowed a designated target to be highlighted in the HUD, so that the pilot could carry out the attack. I am sure that ex-fast jet will be able to give the definitive answer.

Mog
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 20:34
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RD that will be sadly be loss, there were other RAF casualties. who were injured, some I knew.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 21:30
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Originally Posted by tartare View Post
Did gentlemen with moustaches and mad staring eyes from Stirling Lines do that job?
I wondered that, initially, but as it happened in the last days of hostilities, possibly not.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 21:32
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Originally Posted by rolling20 View Post
The Falklands War was 39 years ago. How old is his colleague?
No idea, I'm afraid.
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Old 6th Aug 2021, 22:09
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Originally Posted by rolling20 View Post
The Falklands War was 39 years ago. How old is his colleague?
Having been a member of Cranwell's aircraft maintenance contractor workforce in the early 2010's I can assure you that we were no spring-chickens then, and I doubt much has changed.

Of course with a more mature workforce, we were paid not only for what we did, but also for our accumulated wisdom.

Which probably explains the [email protected] pay.
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Old 7th Aug 2021, 08:38
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Mogwi: For the record, Garth was a Navigator rather than Pilot. He went through Nav School a couple of courses in front of me and, from all I've heard, found his true niche as a FAC. And I believe RD is correct in saying that his was the only RAF death during the Falklands conflict.
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