Old BBC documentary about the defence of the Falklands task group - technical aspects

Yokel

LE
I don't recall saying that (but might have), but it'd be within a particular context given the role intended for CVS in WW3 unless I rushed the post somewhat.

The only correlation between Bears and SKW I can find in my history was in fact this nonsense.

Wandering Bears may come with guns​
But without baggers...​
Oh dear! Crumbs!​
(with apologies to Christopher Isherwood)​

Which was not an attempt to offer an accurate reflection of Cold War TTPs or the thinking behind them...

I am sure that you posted that some had concluded that AEW would have been greatly beneficial for the NATO role of the CVS.

operating in blue water with open arcs, RN ships were quite capable of beating off attacks by elderly Skyhawks dropping dumb bombs.
AEW would not have fixed the issue that ships operating near land were being significantly handicapped by clutter.

What WAS an issue was the realisation that other than the 2x22’s, the 5x42’s and the 1x82, everything else was just targets and missile magnets - see their very rapid demise after the War. And that’s an issue the old farts who rage ‘in 1982, the RN sent 100 ships to the Falkland’ rather miss.
See also the sudden re-interest in the fitting of rapid firing AA guns and dusting off VL Seawolf.

The point of AEW would be to detect the Skyhawks etc before they reached the islands and used the contours to hide in. I do wonder how the old 965 radar would have performed in open ocean. The Sheffield BOI report specifically mentioned the reflected ground wave causing the reflections from the aircraft/missile to be swamped.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
operating in blue water with open arcs, RN ships were quite capable of beating off attacks by elderly Skyhawks dropping dumb bombs.
AEW would not have fixed the issue that ships operating near land were being significantly handicapped by clutter.

What WAS an issue was the realisation that other than the 2x22’s, the 5x42’s and the 1x82, everything else was just targets and missile magnets - see their very rapid demise after the War. And that’s an issue the old farts who rage ‘in 1982, the RN sent 100 ships to the Falkland’ rather miss.
See also the sudden re-interest in the fitting of rapid firing AA guns and dusting off VL Seawolf.
Simplistic.

The Argentinian pilots flew a very good game.

Many ships’ demise was budget-driven.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Simplistic.

The Argentinian pilots flew a very good game.

Many ships’ demise was budget-driven.

No ones denying the Argentine pilots flew a good game, but on a level playing field, the ships systems were quite capable of inflicting serious attrition on the raids.

At end of the day, the ships were very restricted by ground clutter, but the decision was made to keep them near land to defend the landing site - and that handed a very significant unexpected bonus to the attacking pilots.

See also the Etendard Exocet raids - none of them were bolts from the blue, all were tracked in on radar and ECM as they developed, and after Sheffield, no more RN ships hit by them. Sheffield was quite capable of successfully defending herself if she’d brought her A game.


And yes, it was a money issue - the Batch 1 T42’s were Penny pinched to the n’th degree and very critical on top weight. too much ship in too small a hull and for as little money as possible in the aftermath of the Type 82 cancellation.

Pretty much everything came back to money, and the Treasury’s refusal to spend it.
All the issues well understood. The better radar, better missile seeker, better close range defences, more channels of fire, more missiles in the sky… but as I said up page, the Treasury and MOD wasn’t interested in spending the money to fix the known problems, they were trying to cut the Navy substantially.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
The point of AEW would be to detect the Skyhawks etc before they reached the islands and used the contours to hide in. I do wonder how the old 965 radar would have performed in open ocean. The Sheffield BOI report specifically mentioned the reflected ground wave causing the reflections from the aircraft/missile to be swamped.

the raids were not a surprise, we were using submarines as pickets off the Argentine coast.
There were dissenting voices in the Task Force who wanted to push the ships further out to let them play to their strengths. On paper, Sea Dart couldn’t the engage targets below 100ft, in practice, it proved able to go much lower.

The one thing you haven’t mentioned is the effect of the Black Buck raids in substantially shifting the balance towards the FAA. The Argentines kept their Mirages armed with radar guided missiles at home to defend mainland targets.
The FAA were particularly worried about them. The Harrier had no effective way of getting in a fight with a supersonic fighter armed with radar guided missiles, and was expected to take significant losses. See the Harriers staying lower than the Mirages in the early clashes as the Mirages couldn’t do a look down missile shot.
 

Yokel

LE
No ones denying the Argentine pilots flew a good game, but on a level playing field, the ships systems were quite capable of inflicting serious attrition on the raids.

At end of the day, the ships were very restricted by ground clutter, but the decision was made to keep them near land to defend the landing site - and that handed a very significant unexpected bonus to the attacking pilots.

See also the Etendard Exocet raids - none of them were bolts from the blue, all were tracked in on radar and ECM as they developed, and after Sheffield, no more RN ships hit by them. Sheffield was quite capable of successfully defending herself if she’d brought her A game.


And yes, it was a money issue - the Batch 1 T42’s were Penny pinched to the n’th degree and very critical on top weight. too much ship in too small a hull and for as little money as possible in the aftermath of the Type 82 cancellation.

Pretty much everything came back to money, and the Treasury’s refusal to spend it.
All the issues well understood. The better radar, better missile seeker, better close range defences, more channels of fire, more missiles in the sky… but as I said up page, the Treasury and MOD wasn’t interested in spending the money to fix the known problems, they were trying to cut the Navy substantially.

Are you seriously suggesting that the landing forces should have been left undefended?

Does the HMS Sheffield BOI mention the problem of the target reflection being lost in the ground wave of the 965 radar? Yes or No? Still - at least you acknowledge the money issue, rather than just blaming the ship's company of Sheffield and everyone else.

You seem to ignore the loss of the Atlantic Conveyor - why? Surely the defence of important logistics vessels is a major issue?

Last sentence - see Nott.

the raids were not a surprise, we were using submarines as pickets off the Argentine coast.
There were dissenting voices in the Task Force who wanted to push the ships further out to let them play to their strengths. On paper, Sea Dart couldn’t the engage targets below 100ft, in practice, it proved able to go much lower.

The one thing you haven’t mentioned is the effect of the Black Buck raids in substantially shifting the balance towards the FAA. The Argentines kept their Mirages armed with radar guided missiles at home to defend mainland targets.
The FAA were particularly worried about them. The Harrier had no effective way of getting in a fight with a supersonic fighter armed with radar guided missiles, and was expected to take significant losses. See the Harriers staying lower than the Mirages in the early clashes as the Mirages couldn’t do a look down missile shot.

The Type 42/22 combination was an attempt to do just that, in lieu of AEW - but things went wrong. If the Sea Harriers had nor been pulled of from that intercept then it would have changed the course of events that led to the loss of Coventry. The BOI report is here.

Did Argentina have a radar guided AAM? Did they know how to use it? @Archimedes probably knows - and @Magic_Mushroom did not that the tactics employed by the Argentines were poor.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I've never heard of Mirage IIIs carrying anything other than Magic or Sidewinder - both short-range and not radar-guided.

Great play was made in the media the time of us getting the -9L. The Argentinians only had, from memory, the -9B.
 
They didn't have SARH weapons - R530 with the IR head; Shafrir or early model AIM-9.

As an aside, this is coming out at the end of next month (for those who find Amazon links don't show up for them, it's John Shields, Air Power in the Falklands Conflict: An Operational Level Insight into Air Warfare in the South Atlantic (Publisher: Air World [and offshoot of Pen & Sword])


Amazon product
The author will, I am sure, get hate mail and accusations that this is 'another attempt by the crabs to rewrite history and claim victory' (I'm sure there'll be some letters in green ink with a Grenadian postmark), which will demonstrate that the authors of said missives haven't actually read the book (Black Buck OK, but didn't force withdrawal of Mirages; Harrier GR3 OK, but problems - most of them answering to the name of Linley Middleton; joint [1982-style] planners became obsessed with bombing Stanley, etc, etc). It's a properly-researched book and includes footnotes to primary sources and everything.

I know Magic_Mushroom would recommend it (he isn't the author and nor am I, before anyone wonders)....
 
Great play was made in the media the time of us getting the -9L. The Argentinians only had, from memory, the -9B.
One of the Argentine interviewees does mention 9L as a factor. As mentioned upthread if all your engagements are from the rear the ability to shoot from the front is irrelevant.
 

Yokel

LE
From paragraph 8 of the HMS Coventry BOI report:

CAP aircraft were fast approaching Station 33, 25 miles to the East but were unable to engage the first pair of aircraft. Their movement was slightly hampered by the AOA missile zone. Quick reactions by COVENTRY's fighter controller got the CAP within 3 miles of their weapon release point on the second pair of aircraft but the CAP was hauled off when Sea Dart was believed to have acquired.

Broadsword
and Coventry were ten nautical miles offshore, but the radar that Coventry had was unable to overland targets (excessive beamwidth/clutter), Broadsword's radar could. If the Sea Harriers had done the intercept and splashed the Skyhawks, Coventry would have survived. AEW would have made the 42/22 tactics unnecessary. Post conflict, doctrine was changed to intercept with fighters in preference to waiting to them to enter missile range. AEW would also have noticed the Super Eterndards coming from the North (the attack against the Atlantic Conveyer).

Sidewinder 9L's all aspect capability was probably a factor in the Argentine tactics to avoid Sea Harrier if they could - over 450 attack sorties were abandoned.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
They didn't have SARH weapons - R530 with the IR head; Shafrir or early model AIM-9.

They had a number of 530E’s for their Mirage III’s. But they could only carry one, on the centre line. The French provided technical details and DCAM support to the FAA, our FAA, not the Argentine FAA.
It was found they couldn’t get a lock on a Harrier as long as it kept it’s energy up and didn’t stay high. It wasn’t the worlds most agile missile, with a sluggish seeker.
 

PhotEx

On ROPS
On ROPs
Are you seriously suggesting that the landing forces should have been left undefended?

Does the HMS Sheffield BOI mention the problem of the target reflection being lost in the ground wave of the 965 radar? Yes or No? Still - at least you acknowledge the money issue, rather than just blaming the ship's company of Sheffield and everyone else.

You seem to ignore the loss of the Atlantic Conveyor - why? Surely the defence of important logistics vessels is a major issue?

Last sentence - see Nott.



The Type 42/22 combination was an attempt to do just that, in lieu of AEW - but things went wrong. If the Sea Harriers had nor been pulled of from that intercept then it would have changed the course of events that led to the loss of Coventry. The BOI report is here.

Did Argentina have a radar guided AAM? Did they know how to use it? @Archimedes probably knows - and @Magic_Mushroom did not that the tactics employed by the Argentines were poor.

The landing force had plenty of defences, they weren’t ‘undefended’, and everything grey in San Carlos was expendable. Pulling the high end ships closer in merely hampered their ability to take threats. It may have made people feel better, but it wasn’t a sound tactic.

Atlantic Conveyor? Sent in against advice and when an Exocet was detected, everyone chaffed - and the chaff worked marvellously- except Atlantic Conveyor had no chaff and became the missiles point of interest. Lessons learned, don’t chaff unless you are under direct threat, unintended consequences can ensue.

What went ‘wrong’ was Coventry cut across Broadsword and broke her lock on the incoming raid.

Yes, sort of.
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
Unfortunately @PhotEx seems to have ignored the points about defence in depth. AEW could have detected the low flyers. I was going to say that Sea Harrier could have intercepted the incoming Super Eterndards if there has been greater expertise in using fighters as a task group weapon, as it had declined from the mid seventies, but I wonder if the Blue Fox radar fitted to the FRS1 could detect it?

Given that the Argentines avoided the Sea Harrier like a plague, I imagine that the Argentine pilots would have avoided it and abandoned the attack one they detected Blue Fox in their RWR. They would have known that the Sidewinder, particularly the 9L, did not need a radar lock.



She was at Defence Watches. You have still not said if you think Sea Dart could have splashed the incoming SuE or the Exocet?

Detecting the Agave radar would have given early warning, particularly as the bearing would have been the same as fleeting radar contact, but she blinded her ESM by using SCOT. The BOI report not only says she should have used an HF RATT instead, but also reports that she was lacking filters that should have fitted to the SCOT system.

The documentary also covers the loss of the SS Atlantic Conveyer - which depended on the task group for defence (think of the blue area in the picture I posted above - and the Argentines came from the North unexpectedly), the loss of HMS Coventry when she was trying to provide early warning in lieu of AEW aircraft) and called off the pair of Sea Harriers on the way to intercept the Skyhawks - there was a danger of them encroaching her missile engagement zone. The programme also covers the loss of HMS Ardent and the problems she had with ineffective sensors and weapons.



AEW would hopefully have defeated the attack that resulted in the loss of the Atlantic Conveyer - the loss the Chinooks and Wessex she was carrying was a major blow and led to the Welsh Guards being vulnerable aboard LSLs in Bluff Cove. Yes - sometimes you need carrier aircraft to protect merchant vessels.

What would firing an unmaimed Sea Dart have achieved?

As for lobe pecking - should I trust you or my ex RN University lecturer. Hmm, that is tricky. Had the Argentines not had Type 42s with radar 965...



If you were the company management or regulatory authority - would you focus on whether or not the Captain got back rapidly (where is the First Officer by the way?) or how it happened that two aircraft got so closed that TCAS went off?



Tell @PhotEx.

The reason I posted this thread is because I stumbled on the YouTube videos whilst looking for something to reply to a comment in another thread, and it is relevant to a number of threads.
'Bluff Cove' was Fitzroy.
 

Yokel

LE
The landing force had plenty of defences, they weren’t ‘undefended’, and everything grey in San Carlos was expendable. Pulling the high end ships closer in merely hampered their ability to take threats. It may have made people feel better, but it wasn’t a sound tactic.

Atlantic Conveyor? Sent in against advice and when an Exocet was detected, everyone chaffed - and the chaff worked marvellously- except Atlantic Conveyor had no chaff and became the missiles point of interest. Lessons learned, don’t chaff unless you are under direct threat, unintended consequences can ensue.

What went ‘wrong’ was Coventry cut across Broadsword and broke her lock on the incoming raid.

Yes, sort of.

The point of fighters and AEW is to deal with the raids (or at least reduce them before they got to pose a threat to ships. If the CAP had dealt with the Skyhawks, before they got to the range of Broadsword's Sea Wolf, then it would not have mattered of Coventry had slewed across her bow and fouled her arc of fire. If the Super Eterndards coming from the North had been seen and intercepted (or at least disrupted with looking for a large radar echo) then would it have mattered that Ambuscade had fired chaff?

No system is 100% reliable. No weapon has a 100% probability of kill. That is why you have layers of defence.

'Bluff Cove' was Fitzroy.

If the Chinooks (and Jungly Wessex) had not been lost with Atlantic Conveyer, would the Welsh Guards have needed to be transported by the LSLs?
 

Dumb1

War Hero
Cultural change is a very slow and difficult process. This is in part due to those in a position to effect change being part of that culture. Call it Luddism (is that a word?), Cultural Inertia or whatever but if you’ve grown up in a particular culture there’s a not unnatural fear in challenging the Status Quo particularly if there’s no obvious need to do so. Tragically it often takes a catastrophic event to prove that need even though those most closely connected may well have seen it coming but been ignored.

By chance, I’m writing a presentation on just this. Bear with me or scroll on.

Take a large wooden contraption with metal moving parts lubricated with hydrocarbon ergo flammable lubricants. Place it such that it is open to gross contamination with flammable “kindling” such as hair, waste paper etc.

Place it in a confined space free of any chance of it getting wet and fail to install either fire detection or suppression systems. Ensure large volumes of air are routinely forced over the area and cover the immediate vicinity in at least 10 layers of paint dating back almost 100 years.

Create a culture whereby funding for routine cleaning is limited and staff charged with that task can’t be bothered to do it. Forbid smoking but do not enforce the policy adequately. Train staff to fight the fire themselves using inadequate equipment and do not give them any protective clothing or any means of communicating beyond face to face and make it policy to call the Fire Brigade only if a fire gets out of control. Despite a number of small fires in identical scenarios ignore the warnings because they didn’t turn into disasters and when someone raises concerns but that someone works in a different department and fire safety is outside their purview, ignore them too.

Fill the area with more people than the area was ever designed to hold and because of a public culture of criminality, lock a number of otherwise useable exits. That same public culture of indifference to rules then allows one individual to drop a match after lighting a cigarette. In a No Smoking area.

31 people die, 100+ seriously injured.

Replace wooden structure with metal, correct just about everything, vigourously enforce smoking rules, conduct scientific research into the behaviour of fires and find out an awful lot you didn’t know, none of it good.

Anyone recognise a) “cultural complacency” b) the event?
Kings X - never forget it....
 

Yokel

LE
I have found what I was looking for: 2008 ARRSE thread.

I would concur that lack of AEW was by far THE biggest weakness in the UK's capabilities. If we'd have had Sea King AEW2 I would suggest that we'd not have lost a single ship. SHARs could have simply have stayed on deck alert and scrambled straight to the intercept. As it was, the TF had to rely on limited warning from err 'other' assets located in surprising areas and the SHARs were forced to employ inefficient DCA CAPs. @Magic_Mushroom

In reply to:

With less British carrier air, there's no credible CORPORATE. With more carrier air - most especially AEW - fewer ships get hit, and in particular we might not lose Atlantic Conveyor - at least until she's flown off her helos and unloaded some of her cargo. With AEW we probably don't lose Coventry, and are less likely to be so badly hurt at Bluff Cove. @jrwlynch
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
The point of fighters and AEW is to deal with the raids (or at least reduce them before they got to pose a threat to ships. If the CAP had dealt with the Skyhawks, before they got to the range of Broadsword's Sea Wolf, then it would not have mattered of Coventry had slewed across her bow and fouled her arc of fire. If the Super Eterndards coming from the North had been seen and intercepted (or at least disrupted with looking for a large radar echo) then would it have mattered that Ambuscade had fired chaff?

No system is 100% reliable. No weapon has a 100% probability of kill. That is why you have layers of defence.



If the Chinooks (and Jungly Wessex) had not been lost with Atlantic Conveyer, would the Welsh Guards have needed to be transported by the LSLs?
The LSLs were at Fitzroy and not Bluff Cove as you stated earlier. The location you quoted was incorrect, irrespective of what did or did not happen to MS Atlantic Conveyor. The ultimate destination for the Welsh Guards was Bluff Cove after landing at Fitzroy. Had their CO Johnny Ricketts not rejected sound advice from 'a ******* Marine' and had not stopped his troops from disembarking out of pure arrogance, they wouldn't have still been on the LSL when it was bombed and would have marching to their end destination at Bluff Cove. I take it that you haven't seen the memorial stone at Fitzroy...
 
One of the Argentine interviewees does mention 9L as a factor. As mentioned upthread if all your engagements are from the rear the ability to shoot from the front is irrelevant.
I've already posted previously on site about it but as you say all kills were rear aspect shots which the 9Gs we had were quite capable of. 9L did have a couple of other things going for it but I don't think applicable to SHAR.

The biggest advantage of the 9Ls was that they were new and hadn't suffered repeated poor handling which could damage the rocket motors.

Something else posted in the distant past was that when I was down there in 85 I got a call from the boss telling me to get ready to get a lift out to collect a 9L Guidance and Control Group (G&C = the bit at the front) from a fired missile which had been found, the guys at STCAAME (the missile pointy heads) had signalled their great interest. The army blew it in situ before anyone could tell them not to.
 
I agree.

Moving on, anyone in the know as to what the Int Assessment was wrt the Argentinian Air Force / FAA capability? The copied post from Batho seems to indicate that it was fairly inaccurate citing the main air threat from iron bombs, visually dropped.

I did the 5 Bde int assessment on the Argentine FAA capabilities. Mostly lots of stuff about operational ranges of aircraft etc, mostly so we could tell the ground forces what they were likely to be up against. I also pointed out that most of the air effort would probably be made against our naval forces, due to the need to hit the Task Force shipping, the limited loiter time in the vicinity of the islands and the need to return to the mainland rather than using Stanley airport.

Obviously there are Arrsers who are far more knowlegable than me wrt the technical aspects of naval warfare in 1982.

I did make one point however that, as in most air forces, the Argentine fast jet pilots would have been the pick of the bunch, highly trained, intelligent, naturally agressive etc and could be expected to push their attacks all the way. Having been in a position to see them in action I am pretty confident my assessment of their pilot's abilities was correct.
 
The LSLs were at Fitzroy and not Bluff Cove as you stated earlier. The location you quoted was incorrect, irrespective of what did or did not happen to MS Atlantic Conveyor. The ultimate destination for the Welsh Guards was Bluff Cove after landing at Fitzroy. Had their CO Johnny Ricketts not rejected sound advice from 'a ******* Marine' and had not stopped his troops from disembarking out of pure arrogance, they wouldn't have still been on the LSL when it was bombed and would have marching to their end destination at Bluff Cove. I take it that you haven't seen the memorial stone at Fitzroy...
Ricketts was not at Fitzroy when the Galahad was hit. The senior Welsh Guards officer aboard - who didn't take advice (given by Major Ewen Southby-Tailyour RM) - was Major Guy Sayle.
Sayle's daughter now runs an orgy organising company called Killing Kittens. Google if you feel inclined (pun intended).
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
Ricketts was not at Fitzroy when the Galahad was hit. The senior Welsh Guards officer aboard - who didn't take advice (given by Major Ewen Southby-Tailyour RM) - was Major Guy Sayle.
Sayle's daughter now runs an orgy organising company called Killing Kittens. Google if you feel inclined (pun intended).
I don't agree. Cheers...
 

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