Operation Black Buck

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Operation Black Buck on the map.

During the 1982 Falklands War, Operations Black Buck 1 to Black Buck 7 were a series of seven extremely long-range ground attack missions by Royal Air Force Vulcan bombers of the RAF Waddington Wing, comprising aircraft from 44 Squadron, 50 Squadron, 101 Squadron planned against Argentine positions in the Falkland Islands, of which five were actually flown.

The Operation Black Buck raids were staged from RAF Ascension Island, close to the equator. The aircraft carried either twenty-one 1,000 lb bombs internally or two or four Shrike anti-radar missiles externally. The overall effect of the raids on the war is difficult to determine, and the raids consumed precious tanker resources.[1] The raids did minimal damage to the runway and damage to radars was quickly repaired. Commonly dismissed as post-war propaganda,[2] Argentine sources originally claimed that the Vulcan raids influenced Argentina to withdraw some of their Dassault Mirage III fighter aircraft from the Southern Argentina Defence Zone to the Buenos Aires Defence Zone.[3][4][5] This dissuasive effect was however watered down when British officials made clear that there would be no strikes on air bases in Argentina.[6] It has been suggested that the Black Buck raids were pressed home by the Royal Air Force[7] because the British armed forces had been cut in the late seventies and the RAF may have desired a greater role in the conflict to prevent further cuts.[8]

A single crater was produced on the runway, rendering it impossible for the airfield to be used by fast jets.[9] Argentine ground crew repaired the runway[10] within twenty-four hours,[11] to a level of quality suitable for the C-130 Hercules and Aermacchi MB-339 jets.[12] Many sources claim that fake craters confounded British damage assessment;[citation needed] however, the British were well aware that the runway remained in use by C-130 military transport aircraft and IA 58 Pucará ground-attack aircraft.[13]

The Vulcan lacked the range to fly to the Falklands without refuelling several times, as it had been designed for medium-range stand-off nuclear missions in Europe. The RAF's tanker planes were mostly converted Handley Page Victor bombers with similar range, so they too had to be refuelled in the air. A total of 11 tankers were required for two Vulcans, a huge logistical effort as all aircraft had to use the same strip.

The raids, at almost 6,800 nautical miles (12,600 km) and 16 hours for the return journey, were the longest-ranged bombing raids in history at that time (surpassed in the Gulf War of 1991 by USAF Boeing B-52G Stratofortresses flying from the continental United States but using forward-positioned tankers[14]).

Of the five Black Buck raids flown to completion, three were against Stanley Airfield, with the other two anti-radar missions using Shrike anti-radiation missiles.

Background[edit]

Vulcan bomber over Ascension Island on 18 May 1982.

Without aircraft able to cover the long distance, activities in the South Atlantic would be carried out by the Royal Navy and the British Army. Plans were set in motion within the RAF to see if it could carry out any operations near the Falklands. The airfield nearest to the Falklands and usable for RAF operations was on Ascension Island, a British territory, with a single runway at Wideawake airfield which was leased to the US.

Long-range operations were entirely dependent upon the RAF's tanker fleet and so fourteen Handley Page Victor tankers were transferred from RAF Marham to Ascension Island.[15] The RAF tankers themselves were capable of being refuelled in flight, which meant that it was possible to set up relays of aircraft.

The attacking Vulcan was refuelled seven times on the outward journey and once on the return journey. Grey lines indicate reserve aircraft to replace casualties.

The Avro Vulcan was the last of the British V bombers in operational use for bombing, but their squadrons were to be disbanded imminently. They were based in the UK and assigned to NATO for nuclear operations: neither air-to-air refuelling nor conventional bombing had been practised for several years.

At Marham, the tanker force was set to planning refuelling operations to take one or more bombers to the Falklands and back. At RAF Waddington, the retraining of crews in conventional bombing and in-flight refuelling was begun. Aircraft were selected based upon their engines; only those with the more powerful Bristol Olympus 301 engines were considered suitable. One of the most challenging tasks was re-instating the refuelling system, which had been blocked off. One Victor was converted into an improvised photo-reconnaissance aircraft.

Three 22-year-old Vulcan B2s were selected—XM597, XM598 and XM607—drawn from No. 44, 50 and No. 101 Squadron RAF. Each was powered by the more powerful Olympus 301 engines. The Vulcans were deployed to Wideawake, arriving on 28 April. Two further Vulcans, XM612 and XJ823 were stationed at Wideawake as reserve aircraft in case of mechanical failures in the three primary aircraft.[16] Squadron Leader Neil McDougall, Squadron Leader John Reeve, Squadron Leader Alastair 'Monty' Montgomery and Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers captained the Vulcans.

To give improved electronic countermeasures (ECM) against Argentine defences, which were known to include Tigercat missile and radar-controlled anti-aircraft guns, Dash 10 pods from Blackburn Buccaneer aircraft at RAF Honington were fitted to the wings on improvised pylons. To navigate across the featureless seas, inertial guidance systems were borrowed from VC-10s and two installed in each Vulcan.

The Vulcan fuel tanks could contain 9,200 gal (41,823 litres). Based upon estimates of the Vulcan's fuel need, eleven Victor tankers, including two reserve aircraft, were assigned to refuel the single Vulcan before and after its attack on the Falklands. The attacking Vulcan was refuelled four times on the outward journey and once on the return journey,[17] using over 220,000 gallons of aviation fuel during the mission. Two identically-armed Vulcans took off for each mission, the second returning to base, without refuelling, if no problems arose with the first, or assuming its role if the first could not continue. Each aircraft carried either twenty-one 1,000-pound (450 kg) bombs or four Shrike anti-radar missiles[18] (Dash 10 pod) with three 1,000 gallon (4,546 litres) auxiliary fuel tanks in the bomb bay. The bombs were intended to cause damage to Argentine installations, especially Port Stanley Airport; it being hoped that the attacks would cause the defenders to switch on defensive radars, which would then be targetted by the missiles. The lighter Shrike-armed Vulcans could loiter in the area longer than the bomb-armed Vulcans.

Missions[edit]

Black Buck One[edit]

XM607, the first Vulcan to participate in Black Buck.

The first surprise attack on the islands, on 30 April/1 May was aimed at the main runway at Port Stanley Airport. Carrying twenty-one 1,000 lbs general-purpose bombs, the bomber was to fly across the line of the runway at about 35 degrees. The bomb release system was timed to drop sequentially from 10,000 ft so that at least one bomb would hit the runway.[19]

For the mission, two Vulcans took off from RAF Ascension Island; XM598 was the lead with XM607 as the reserve. Shortly after take off, XM598, commanded by Squadron Leader John Reeve, suffered a pressurisation failure (a rubber seal on the "Direct Vision" side window had perished) and was forced to return to Ascension. XM607, captained by Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers, took over.

As well as XM598, one of the Victor tankers returned to Ascension with a faulty refuelling hose system and its place was taken by a reserve.

The Vulcan was over its normal maximum take-off weight—each carried, as well as extra equipment like the DASH 10 and a chemical toilet, a highly experienced Air to Air Refuelling Instructor (AARI) from the Victor tanker force who would fly the Vulcan during refuelling—and fuel usage was higher than expected. As a result of the fuel demand and problems in flight with refuelling, two of the Victors had to fly further south than planned, eating into their own reserves, and one of these, the last Victor to refuel the Vulcan, was past the last refuelling bracket before turning home. Tankers had to be sent south to refuel these Victors so they could reach Ascension. A total of 11 Victors were used to support Black Buck One: XH669, XH672, XL162, XL163, XL188, XL189, XL192, XL232, XL511, XL513 and XM717.[15]

XM607 made the final approach at around 300 ft above the sea. Before climbing to attack height the H2S radar was successfully locked on to offset markers on the coast and bombing handed over to the control system. The attack was delivered around 4 am local time.

XM607 then climbed away from the airfield and headed nearly due north to a planned rendezvous with a Victor some way off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. As it passed the British Task Force it signalled the code word “superfuse” indicating a successful attack. Its journey continued up within range of the South American coast to its rendezvous with a tanker. After contacting control with an update, the tanker was sent further south. To help bring the two planes together a Nimrod Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft was flown from Wideawake to the area. Without an in-flight refuelling system it was unable to loiter long. XM607 made the link and was able to return to Ascension.

Northwood received the “superfuse” message by 8:30 and the MoD shortly thereafter. The news of the bombing raid was reported on the BBC World Service before either the Vulcan or the last tanker arrived at Ascension.

The stick of twenty-one 1000 lb bombs crossed the airfield, damaged the airport tower, scored a single direct hit in the centre of the runway and killed two Air Force personnel.[20] However, it still remained operational for the Argentine C-130 Hercules transports. The bombs falling on either side of the runway caused slight damage to tented installations in the airfield perimeter.[21] This was due to the careful dispersal of equipment by the base commander.

The attack took the Argentines (as well as the rest of the world) completely by surprise.[citation needed]

Withers was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in the action. Squadron Leader Bob Tuxford, who had piloted Victor XL189, the last Victor to refuel XM607, received the Air Force Cross.

Black Buck Two[edit]

During the night of 3/4 May, XM607 (flown by Squadron Leader John Reeve and his crew of No 50 Squadron) flew a near identical mission to the first.[22] XM598 acted as flying reserve aircraft, piloted by Squadron Leader Alastair Montgomery.[23] This raid targeted the area at the western end of the runway. According to RAF and White's book this was intended to prevent Argentine engineers from extending the runway sufficiently to make it capable of accommodating high performance combat aircraft.[24][25] However, according to the historian Lawrence Freedman BB2 missed the runway because of the presence of Argentine Roland SAM.[26] Two Argentine soldiers were wounded according to Argentine sources, which also confirm impacts near the western end of the airstrip.[27]

Black Buck Three[edit]

This mission, scheduled for 13 May, was scrubbed before take-off due to strong headwinds. Vulcans XM612[28] and XM607.

Black Buck Four[edit]

This mission with XM597, scheduled for 28 May, was also scrubbed, but only some 5 hours after the Vulcan had taken off. One of the supporting Victor aircraft, which were flying refuelling operations, suffered a failure of their hose-and-drogue refuelling unit, and the flight had to be recalled. XM598 acted as flying reserve aircraft.

The mission had been due to be the first using American supplied AGM-45 Shrike Anti-Radar missiles, which were mounted on the Vulcans using improvised underwing pylons.

Black Buck Five[edit]

XM597, showing mission markings from its two Black Buck missions and Brazilian internment.

This mission, flown by Squadron Leader Neil McDougall and his crew from 50 Squadron in XM597, on 31 May, was the first completed anti-radar mission equipped with AGM-45A Shrike missiles. The main target was a Westinghouse AN/TPS-43 long range 3D radar that the Argentine Air Force deployed during April to guard the airspace surrounding the Falklands. An attack could only succeed if the targeted radar continued transmitting until struck. At 08:45Z two Shrikes were launched at it.[29] The first missile impacted 10 metres away from the target, causing minor blast damage to the wave-guide assembly, but not disabling the radar.[30] The Argentine operators then turned their radar off, preventing further damage. The AN/TPS-43 radar remained operational during the rest of the conflict. XM598 acted as flying reserve aircraft, again piloted by Alastair Montgomery.

Black Buck Six[edit]

This mission, again flown by Squadron Leader Neil McDougall in XM597, was now armed with four missiles instead of two. Black Buck Six loitered for 40 minutes in a vain effort to engage the unswitched AN/TPS-43. Finally they fired two Shrikes[31] and destroyed a Skyguard fire-control radar of the army's 601 Anti-aircraft battalion on 3 June, killing four radar operators, an officer, a sergeant and two privates.[30] On its return flight the aircraft was forced to divert to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil after its in-flight refuelling probe broke. One of the missiles it was carrying was ditched into the ocean to reduce drag, but the other remained stuck on the pylon and could not be released. Sensitive documents containing classified information were jettisoned into the sea via the crew hatch, and a "Mayday" signal was sent. The aircraft was cleared to land by Brazilian authorities with less than 2,000 lbs of fuel remaining, not enough to complete a circuit of the airport.[32]

The aircraft was interned for nine days at Galeão Air Force Base, then the crew and aircraft were returned on 11 June, having been treated well by the authorities. However, the remaining Shrike missile was confiscated and never returned, and the Brazilian authorities returned the aircraft on condition that it would take no further part in the Falklands War.[citation needed] XM598 acted as flying reserve aircraft, flown once again by Alastair Montgomery.

Black Buck Seven[edit]

The final Black Buck mission (XM607 flown by Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers[33]) was against Argentine troop positions close to Stanley on 12 June, cratering the eastern end of the airfield and causing widespread damage to airfield stores and facilities.[34] The bombs were fuzed in error to explode on impact; the end of the war was in sight and the intention had been for them to explode in mid-air to destroy aircraft and stores[35] without damaging the runway, which would be needed for RAF Phantom FGR.2 operations after the Falkland Islands were recaptured. The Argentine ground forces surrendered two days later. XM598 acted as flying reserve aircraft, piloted by Alastair Montgomery.

Effect[edit]

Aerial reconnaissance photo of Port Stanley Airport. The craters from Black Buck One's bombs are visible in the middle. Black Buck Two's craters are visible more clearly to the left.

The military effectiveness of Black Buck remains controversial to this day with some independent sources describing it as minimal,[36] the damage to the airfield and radars being quickly repaired.[37] The runway continued to be used by Argentine C-130s until the end of the war and was also available for Aermacchi MB-339 jets[38] and FMA Pucarás.[39] As a result of the controversy a number of common misconceptions exist about the raid.

Although commonly dismissed as British propaganda, Argentine sources confirm claims that Black Buck was initially responsible for the withdrawal of a number of Mirage IIIEA from operations over the islands in order to protect the mainland.[3][4][40] This dissuasive effect was however watered down when British officials made clear that there would not be strikes on air bases in Argentina.[6]

There are urban legends that claim Argentine engineers building the runway plotted its position incorrectly on maps, leading to the British missing the runway.[citation needed] The runway at Port Stanley was in fact built by British engineers, replacing an earlier temporary strip constructed by LADE in the early 1970s.

The purposes of the raid and its impact on the runway are also commonly misunderstood. British air power doctrine recognises that attacks against the operating surfaces of runways can have limited effect.[41] Planning for the raid called for a bomb run in a 35° cut across the runway, with the aim of placing at least one bomb on the runway and possibly two.[24] The main purpose in doing so was to prevent the use of the runway by fast jets; in this respect the raid was successful as the repair to the runway was botched and subsequently there were several near accidents.[24] However, it was realised at the time that the runway would likely remain open to use by C-130s; the RAF routinely practises rough field take offs in their C-130s.[42]

The Argentines left the runway covered with piles of earth during the day, leading to claims this caused British intelligence to surmise that repairs were still in progress and misleading the British as to the condition of the airfield and the success of their raids.[36][43] In fact, the British were well aware that C-130 flights continued to use the airfield[13] and attempted to interdict these flights leading to the loss of a C-130 on 1 June,[44] which was not, however, engaged in any resupply mission.[45]

Another common misconception is that the Argentine forces made no attempt to use the airfield at Port Stanley as a base for high-performance jets. In early April the Argentine Naval Aviation installed arrestor gear on the runway to enable short landings, and A-4Q Skyhawks of 3 Escuadrilla and S-2 Trackers (2-AS-22, 2-AS-25) deployed to the airfield performing several reconnaissance missions until April 13 when they were redeployed to the continent to embark on Veinticinco de Mayo. After the carrier returned to port, and due to the continuous naval bombardment of Stanley, the aircraft operated from Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego and Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz respectively.[46][47] Engineers of the Argentine Air Force had added additional steel matting to extend the parking area for the Pucaras and Aermacchis that used the airfield but the main equipment to extend the runway was still on the ELMA cargo ship Cordoba which could not cross to the island due to the British submarine threat.[48]

To the British, the raids achieved a number of non-material objectives. These included demonstrating their willingness to defend British territories from forceful invasion, signalling British intent to recapture the Falklands, and showing Britain's ability to attack Argentine forces on the islands. It also demonstrated the possibility of escalating the conflict in future by striking industrial targets on the Argentinian mainland. Regardless of whether or not the British actually intended to pursue these options and escalate the conflict, the Argentinian leadership would have been fully aware of the implications.[49]

According to Rowland White, the author of Vulcan 607, Vice Admiral Lombardo was led to believe that Black Buck One was the prelude to a full scale landing by the British. As a consequence, he ordered Rear Admiral Allara (commander of the Argentine carrier) to immediately attack the British fleet. This attack took the form of a pincer movement, General Belgrano to the south and Veinticinco de Mayo to the north. On 2 May, General Belgrano was sunk by the submarine HMS Conqueror the Argentine navy withdrew to territorial waters and played no further part in the conflict.[50]

At the time, it was the longest bombing raid in history, covering over 3,400 nautical miles (6,300 km), all of which were conducted over the open sea. This record was not broken until an American B-52 flew from the USA to Iraq, and then returned to RAF Mildenhall in England during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, although a major difference between the two was that the B-52s benefited from forward pre-positioned tankers for their aerial refuelling.

After the conflict ended, the runway was repaired and extended to allow the deployment of a detachment of Phantom FGR.2 fighters from No. 29 Squadron on 17 October 1982.[51]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "... to get twenty-one bombs to Port Stanley is going to take about one million, one hundred thousand pounds of fuel - equalled [sic] about 137,000 gallons. That was enough fuel to fly 260 Sea Harrier bombing missions over Port Stanley. Which in turn meant just over 1300 bombs. Interesting stuff!" Ward (1992), p. 186
  2. ^ "Propaganda was, of course, used later to try to justify these missions: 'The Mirage IIIs were redrawn from Southern Argentina to Buenos Aires to add to the defences there following the Vulcan raids on the islands.' Apparently the logic behind this statement was that if the Vulcan could hit Port Stanley, the [sic] Buenos Aires was well within range as well and was vulnerable to similar attacks. I never went along with that baloney. A lone Vulcan or two running in to attack Buenos Aires without fighter support would have been shot to hell in quick time."-"Mirage IIIs were in evidence near the islands on several occasions during the conflict, either escorting the Neptune reconnaissance missions or on 'interference' flights that attempted to draw CAP attention away from air-to-ground attacks."-"Suffice it to say that you didn't need more than one or two Mirage IIIs to intercept a Vulcan attack on Buenos Aires"-"It would have taken much more than a lone Vulcan raid to upset Buenos Aires" Ward (1992), pp. 247-48.
  3. ^ a b [1] "As a result of these heavy losses...it was decided to pull the Mirage III's back to the mainland to stand alert for a possible Vulcan attack."
  4. ^ a b [2] "Finally, the bombing raids caused the Argentines to fear an air attack on the mainland, causing them to retain some Mirage aircraft and Roland missiles for defence."
  5. ^ [3] La familia Mirage, Aeroespacio, Fuerza Aérea Argentina, ISSN 0001-9127, "Los M III debían defender el territorio continental argentino de posibles ataques de los bombarderos Vulcan de la RAF, brindar escolta a los cazabombarderos de la FAA, e impedir los ataques de aviones de la Royal Navy y de la RAF sobre las Malvinas." ("The M III would defend the Argentine mainland against possible attacks by Vulcan bombers from the RAF, providing escort of fighter bombers to the FAA, and to prevent attacks by aircraft of the Royal Navy and RAF on the Falklands.")
  6. ^ a b [4]"Unfortunately the British Secretary of State for Defence announced sometime later that Britain would not bomb targets on the Argentine mainland. This statement was undoubtedly welcomed by the Argentine military command because it permitted the very limited number of Roland SAM's to be deployed around the airfield at Stanley."
  7. ^ Lawrence Freedman: Official History of the Falklands Campaign, 2005
  8. ^ A.C.G.Welburn: The Application of False Principles and the Misapplication of Valid Principles page 25 in 'Australian Defence Force Journal No. 124 May/June 1997'
  9. ^ Hastings and Jenkins: The Battle for the Falklands, p. 144
  10. ^ Edward Fursdon: Falklands Aftermath, "The Argentines had temporarily backfilled the five large craters, enabling them to continue to fly in C-130 Hercules transports" - the other craters were from Harrier raids; note that C-130 Hercules aircraft are designed to land on very rough semi-prepared airstrips.
  11. ^ "And what was achieved? A crater in the runway that was filled in within twenty-four hours, and possibly a 30 mm gun radar knocked out." Ward (1992), p. 247.
  12. ^ Hastings and Jenkins: The Battle for the Falklands, p. 203: "Meanwhile, a single Aeromacchi[sic] - almost certainly the first Fleet Air Arm[sic] (Argentine COAN) reconnaissance aircraft flying from Port Stanley - attacked the...."
  13. ^ a b Morgan, David, Hostile Skies, Orion Books Limited, London, 2006, ISBN 978-0-7538-2199-2
  14. ^ Paul Rogers (2000). Losing Control: Global Security in the Twenty-first Century. Pluto Press. ISBN 0-7453-1909-2. 
  15. ^ a b Page 76 in Phil Buttler, Tony Buttler: Handley Page Victor: The Crescent-Winged V-Bomber, 2009, AeroFax, ISBN 978-1-85780-311-2
  16. ^ http://www.heritageandhistory.com/contents1a/2012/04/vulcan-xj823-falklands-conflict-veteran-in-cumbria/?doing_wp_cron=1405025173.1962320804595947265625
  17. ^ http://studysupport.info/vulcanbomber/blackbuck.htm retrieved 8. November 2010
  18. ^ "armed with four Shrikes for another attack against the Falklands." page 67 in Peter R. March: The Vulcan Story, 2006, Sutton Publishing/'Vulcan to the Sky' trust, ISBN 0-7509-4399-8
  19. ^ "In the conventional bombing role, the Vulcan carried up to three clips of seven bombs each. The 'iron' bombs were sequenced to drop singly from each clip in order front, centre and rear, repeating the sequence seven times", page 52 in Peter R. March: The Vulcan Story, 2006, Sutton Publishing/'Vulcan to the Sky' trust, ISBN 0-7509-4399-8
  20. ^ Rodríguez Mottino, pp. 166–167
  21. ^ “Little material damage had been caused by the raids, despite the immense tanker effort and expense to mount them. However, the 1 May attack had been a spectacular opening to the British recapture effort and a warning that—even though the Port Stanley runway was swiftly repaired—basing combat aircraft there would be unwise.” page 69 in Peter R. March: The Vulcan Story, 2006, Sutton Publishing/'Vulcan to the Sky' trust, ISBN 0-7509-4399-8
  22. ^ "Operation Black Buck - 1st May to 12 June 1982". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  23. ^ "XM598". www.rafmuseum.org.uk. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  24. ^ a b c White (2006)
  25. ^ "Falkland Islands - A history of the 1982 conflict/Operation Black Buck". www.raf.mod.uk. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  26. ^ Lawrence Freedman: The official history of the Falklands campaign Volume II, 2005, Routledge: page. 296: "The next morning began, at 0820Z, with another Vulcan attack on Stanley airfield. The mission again ran smoothly, but the higher altitude adopted, to stay clear of Argentine Roland surface-to-air missiles, meant that the attack itself was less successful." and page 301: "To add to a frustrating day, it soon transpired that all the bombs released by the second Vulcan attack on the airfield at Stanley had missed the runway."
  27. ^ Esta misión se concretó a las 05:33 hs, sobre la BAM Malvinas, sobrevolándola con rumbo N-NE y lanzando diecisiete bombas con retardo de hasta dos horas, que impactaron a 45º de la cabecera 08, pero sin afectar la pista, aunque hiriendo levemente a dos soldados del Ejército Argentino.www.fuerzaaerea.mil.ar
  28. ^ "XM612 revealed when mouse is on bomb image". www.raf.mod.uk/falklands. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  29. ^ Falklands - The Air War. Arms and Armour Press. 1986. p. 365. ISBN 0-85368-842-7. 
  30. ^ a b Avro Vulcan - History - Thunder and Lightnings
  31. ^ Falklands - The Air War. Arms and Armour Press. 1986. p. 367. ISBN 0-85368-842-7. 
  32. ^ Operation Black Buck
  33. ^ "pdf". www.avrovulcan.com. Retrieved 2009-02-05. 
  34. ^ [5] The Falkland Islands, A history of the 1982 conflict, Battles of the Falklands Conflict, Operation Black Buck - 1 May to 12 June 1982
  35. ^ Lawrence Freedman: The official history of the Falklands campaign Volume II (2005, Routledge): (p. 631) "Early on 12 June, at 0850Z, there was the last Vulcan raid on Stanley airfield - BLACK BUCK SEVEN. The intention was to attack the airfield parking and storage area with VT fused air-burst bombs, but impact fusing was set in error, and the 21 bombs fell wide of the target."
  36. ^ a b Offensive Air Operations Of The Falklands War - USMC
  37. ^ "And what was achieved? A crater in the runway that was filled in within twenty-four hours, and possibly a 30 mm gun radar knocked out" Ward (1992).
  38. ^ Max Hastings:"The Battle for the Falklands" on page 203 in the San Carlos chapter (21 May):"Meanwhile, a single Aeromacchi[sic] - almost certainly the first Fleet Air Arm[sic] (Argentine COAN) reconnaissance aircraft flying from Port Stanley - attacked the...."
  39. ^ FAA Chronology: 10 June entry
  40. ^ [6] La familia Mirage, Aeroespacio, Fuerza Aérea Argentina, ISSN 0001-9127, "Los M III debían defender el territorio continental argentino de posibles ataques de los bombarderos Vulcan de la RAF, brindar escolta a los cazabombarderos de la FAA, e impedir los ataques de aviones de la Royal Navy y de la RAF sobre las Malvinas." ("The M III would defend the Argentine mainland against possible attacks by Vulcan bombers from the RAF, providing escort of fighter bombers to the FAA, and to prevent attacks by aircraft of the Royal Navy and RAF on the Falklands.")
  41. ^ "Attacks on operating surfaces can close airfields, but because operating surfaces can be repaired, the effects of such attacks can only be temporary" Royal Air Force Air Power Doctrine, AP 3000 2nd Edition, 1993
  42. ^ Air Power Under Pressure, Interview of the Chief of the Air Staff by Richard Gardner, Editor of Aerospace International "indeed, during the last troop rotation in Afghanistan the C130 [sic] force flew some 350 sorties into the gravel strip at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province."
  43. ^ The Avro Vulcan and the Black Buck raids - Britain's Small Wars
  44. ^ Ward (1992), p. 302
  45. ^ One of their aircraft is missing: Argentine Aircraft Losses - Britain's Small Wars
  46. ^ "PDF book: Historia de la Aviación Naval Argentina" (in Spanish). www.trackerenmalvinas.com.ar. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  47. ^ Instituto Aeronaval 3ra Escuadrilla
  48. ^ [Commodore Ruben Oscar Moro La Guerra Inaudita]
  49. ^ Freedman, Lawrence, The Official History of the Falklands Campaign, Volume II, p.286, Routledge, Abingdon, UK, ISBN 0-415-41911-5
  50. ^ White (2006), pp. 364-365
  51. ^ British Military Aviation in 1982 - Part 2 - RAF Museum

References[edit]

External links[edit]