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Battle Atlas of the Falklands War 1982



 Sea Skua

on to 11. Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships

Sea Harriers - Lacking fleet carriers and with the Falklands less than 500 miles from Argentine, the Navy had to provide the only possible air cover with its few Sea Harrier FRS.1 jump-jets armed with

30mm Aden cannon, the
lethal AIM-9L Sidewinder AAM for combat air patrol, and
cluster bombs for ground attack.

Including those transferred from No.899 HQ Training Squadron, 12 were scraped together for "Hermes'" No.800 and 8 for "Invincible's" No.801 NAS. Thus 20 aircraft, some piloted by the RAF, had to defend the Fleet against 100 plus Argentine attackers. Only in mid-May were they reinforced by Harriers eight more Sea of No.809 NAS (plus six RAF GR.3's). Just six Navy Harriers were lost by accident or ground fire, and not one in air-to-air fighting.

Sea Harriers of, from top, Nos 899, 801,
800 NAS (Courtesy - RNAS Yeovilton)


Sea King Mk 5 of 820 NAS on "Invincible"
class carrier HMS Illustrious (Courtesy - MOD, Navy)


Helicopters -  The rest of the Navy's airpower came from its numerous helicopters, although three more squadrons had to be reformed to support the land forces in their later drive on Stanley. Flying mainly from the warships and RFA's, they carried out transport and vertical replenishment (vertrep) duties, special forces landings and naval gunfire support, and anti-submarine and anti-ship missions, the latter by Sea Skua-equipped Lynx. But not airborne early warning which was sadly lacking. Some transferred from ship to ship, including the merchantmen, and many later went ashore on the Falklands. In all, 17 helicopters were lost - five Sea Kings by accident, two Wessex on South Georgia, six Wessex and a Lynx went down with "Atlantic Conveyor", one Lynx each with "Ardent" and "Coventry" and last of all a Wessex destroyed on Exocet-hit "Glamorgan". Helicopter types, Naval Air Squadron and Main Roles were:

No.820 - 11 HAS.5's on "Invincible" for ASW,
No.824 - 5 HAS.2A's on RFA's, 2 at
No.825 - Reformed Squadron of 10 HAS.2A's reached Falklands late May
in support role,
No.826 - 9 HAS.5 's on "Hermes" for ASW,
No.846 - 15 HC.4 Assault, including 9 initially on "Hermes", 3 on "Fearless" and 1 on "Intrepid"

No.737 - 2 HAS.3's on County class destroyers,
No.845 & No.848 (reformed NAS) - 30 HU.5's before end of war on RFA's, "Intrepid", carried on "Atlantic Conveyor" (6) and at Ascension (1),
No.847 - Reformed Squadron of 24 HU.5's reached Falklands early June in support role

No.815 HAS.2's on destroyers and frigates

No.829 HAS.1's on Rothesay frigates and small ships


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revised 31/5/13