Falklands and Carriers

uk 75

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I know that I am getting old and confused but can someone explain to me how the HMS
Ark Royal and a few RAF ground attack Harriers are supposed to be able to recover
the Falklands if the Argentinians take Mount Pleasant airbase? I realise that senior Admirals
know much more about this sort of thing than a mere civilian.

On a more serious note, I hope that the RAF does have a workable rapid reinforcement plan
for the Islands. A combination of Typhoons and Tornados deployed in timely fashion would
more than overmatch the Argentine Navy and Air forces. However, if the Argentines managed to
use civilian agitators (sometimes known as peacecampers) to disrupt the operations at Mount Pleasant
the British reaction might not be so straightforward. It is tempting to think that now that Chile is a Democracy it might be willing to host some RAF planes as well.

UK 75
 

Michel Van

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it was not the HMS Ark Royal alone
allot of Harrier were transported on Containership near Falklands

next to that the Argentina airforce fighter had range problems
they had fly all way to Falklands and back with short operation time over islands
intermediate the Harriers wait on isle. Then take vertical off, before emery reach the islands

dam, i want a Falklands War with P.1154 and TSR.2 !
 

Anderman

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Michel Van said:
dam, i want a Falklands War with P.1154 and TSR.2 !

Yeah with 350000 t DTBC Deck through battle crusiers ;D and of course CL-84 AEW machines.
 

Michel Van

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Anderman said:
Yeah with 350000 t DTBC Deck through battle crusiers ;D and of course CL-84 AEW machines.

hell yeah
plus a CL-84 version as ground attack VTOL
or as troup carrier VTOL

i found a map who show the distance to scenes
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Falklands%2C_Campaign%2C_%28Distances_to_bases%29_1982.jpg
and Container ship with Harrier
http://www.combatreform.org/harrieroveratlanticconveyorcontainership.jpg
 

bmdefiant

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Excellent point...im afraid it sounds like a bit of hysteria by those with more sense to know better that the likelyhood is remote. Im sure that if there were any intentions on behalf of the Argentines a bit of warning would allow UK forces (mostly air power) to be deployed rapidly.
 

cthippo

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bmdefiant said:
Im sure that if there were any intentions on behalf of the Argentines a bit of warning would allow UK forces (mostly air power) to be deployed rapidly.

Sure, but deployed to where? Depending on the geopolitics at the time and how things shape up, the UK could be in trouble. Currently the FAA has no fixed wing combat aircraft, and depending on how the invasion is perceived and the relative pluses and minuses for supporting the UK vs the Argentines, finding someone to host your air force could be a challenge. That said, it is far more likely that the US would get involved which would tend to negate these factors.
 

RLBH

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cthippo said:
Sure, but deployed to where? Depending on the geopolitics at the time and how things shape up, the UK could be in trouble. Currently the FAA has no fixed wing combat aircraft, and depending on how the invasion is perceived and the relative pluses and minuses for supporting the UK vs the Argentines, finding someone to host your air force could be a challenge. That said, it is far more likely that the US would get involved which would tend to negate these factors.
To RAF Mount Pleasant, which was built for this specific purpose. It happens to be ours, so there's no problem with finding a host.
 

Jemiba

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One thing I'm curious about in relation to the topic and the current switch of the RN
to CTOL is, that I've read, that during the Falklands conflict, the British Harriers were
able to take-off and land back on their ships, when CTOL aircraft wouldn't have been
able due to bad weather conditions. There was a lot of footage and photos of Harriers
taking off from the ski jump in really severe conditions, but I'm not sure, that a USN
carrier really would have had to cease flying operations. If so, the decision to axe the
Harrier or a comparable type would really decrease certain capabilities, or does it just
prove more confidence in Argentinian behaviour ? ???
 

Arjen

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I've read somewhere - can't remember where - that when initial ship-landing trials were performed with the Harrier, the one thing that stood out was the absence of fear in the onlookers. They'd been used to new aircraft being ever heavier and faster coming in. The Harrier just snuck up on the ship and then landed without much fuss.

So yes, there are advantages in being able to land vertically when you want to land on a ship.
 

Nik

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IIRC, the Harrier gave rise to the wry comment that it was so much easier to stop then land, than land *then* stop...

( Of course, this rather overlooked the Harrier's, um, idiosyncratic handling and restricted time in hover, but, swings, roundabouts and simulators... ;- )
 

Jemiba

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Had a look into some books. At least Paul Beaver in "The British Aircarft Carrier", mentions, that
"quite probably" even larger conventional carriers would have been "out of limits", due to bad
weather quite often. That's of course more or less just the authors opinion, there probably were
written reports by several navies . But the conclusion, of course is always a matter of the writers concerns.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Jemiba said:
One thing I'm curious about in relation to the topic and the current switch of the RN
to CTOL is, that I've read, that during the Falklands conflict, the British Harriers were
able to take-off and land back on their ships, when CTOL aircraft wouldn't have been
able due to bad weather conditions. There was a lot of footage and photos of Harriers
taking off from the ski jump in really severe conditions, but I'm not sure, that a USN
carrier really would have had to cease flying operations.

The Harrier had proved well before the Falklands that they could sustain flight operations in sea conditions that grounded even a Nimitz class air wing. This is because of recovery and pitching deck. When the deck is wildly pitching it makes trapping a wire very touchy yet it has little effect for a Harrier because it just comes in beside the carrier to the centre of deck rotation and lands there.

Jemiba said:
If so, the decision to axe the
Harrier or a comparable type would really decrease certain capabilities, or does it just
prove more confidence in Argentinian behaviour ? ???

The British decision had nothing to do with naval operations or strategic threats and was all about saving a lot of money.
 

theponja

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You're really writing about a kind of sci-fi history because you're thinking Argentina is capable to attack.

The truth is the situation of our army forces is poor. Just a couple of Mirages are capable to fly and a few another jets. The best pilots are leaving to private airlines because the poor salarys.

The Kirchener goverment is the best ally for Great Britain, they hate the army forces, so the actual situation of Army forces Argentina can't match Chile as example, so don't worry.
 
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Jemiba

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".. so don't worry. "

No, I don't !
But the british government is still paying a lot of money for the deployment
of british forces in the Falklands. And not everybody is happy with the decision
to axe the Harrier and (perhaps !) rely just on CTOL in the future. So this could
have been used as a pro-VTOL argument, I think, that the axe better should be
applied somewhere else. But I haven't heard about it. The VTOL proponents in the
country, that fielded the first VTOL combat aircraft seem to have resigned. :-[
 

Triton

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Abraham Gubler said:
The British decision had nothing to do with naval operations or strategic threats and was all about saving a lot of money.

Please pardon me if the following are ignorant questions, but those who have advocated through-deck aviation cruisers and VSTOL/STOVL aircraft over the years have claimed that there is cost savings to be realized over large carriers, either conventionally-powered or nuclear, operating CATOBAR aircraft. Accounting for the development, construction, and operational costs of VSTOL/STOVL aircraft and through-deck aviation cruisers is this really the case? Or are the cost overruns and development problems unique to the Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL program? Are the advantages of operating small carriers with STOVL aircraft principally operational, such as supporting marine landing operations in high sea states and/or other stormy weather, rather than cost savings?
 

F-14D

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Triton said:
Abraham Gubler said:
The British decision had nothing to do with naval operations or strategic threats and was all about saving a lot of money.

Please pardon me if the following are ignorant questions, but those who have advocated through-deck aviation cruisers and VSTOL/STOVL aircraft over the years have claimed that there is cost savings to be realized over large carriers, either conventionally-powered or nuclear, operating CATOBAR aircraft. Accounting for the development, construction, and operational costs of VSTOL/STOVL aircraft and through-deck aviation cruisers is this really the case? Or are the cost overruns and development problems unique to the Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL program? Are the advantages of operating small carriers with STOVL aircraft principally operational, such as supporting marine landing operations in high sea states and/or other stormy weather, rather than cost savings?

The advantage to a small deck carrier is that if you can't afford or don't want to pay the up front costs of a big deck carrier they're your only choice. For anything approaching comparable effectiveness, small deck carriers are more expensive. STOVL allows you to operate a limited number of a/c off a quite small carrier, but for the USMC the principle reason for STOVL is when they go ashore.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Triton said:
Accounting for the development, construction, and operational costs of VSTOL/STOVL aircraft and through-deck aviation cruisers is this really the case? Or are the cost overruns and development problems unique to the Lockheed-Martin F-35B Lightning II STOVL program?

Well there is little evidence to suggest that developing STOVL aircraft is inherently more likely to result in cost overruns compared to CTOL carrier aircraft. Of the six STOVL aircraft developed beyond paper to date (P.1154, Harrier, Yak 41, Harrier II, Yak 141, F-35B) two were cancelled due to impoverishment of the parent service, three made it into service and we’re waiting on the sixth. The list of CTOL aircraft is too long to prepare but there have been plenty cancelled for cost overruns and failure to meet spec. In the USN during Gen X lifetimes we have the F-111B and A-12A compared to A-7, F-14, S-3, F/A-18 and F/A-18E/F making it into service. Worse numbers than STOVL.

As to the cost of ships STOVL carriers are significantly cheaper than CTOL carriers and offer higher performance benefits to size. Ie. smaller STOVL carriers can do a lot more than smaller CTOL carriers.

Triton said:
Are the advantages of operating small carriers with STOVL aircraft principally operational, such as supporting marine landing operations in high sea states and/or other stormy weather, rather than cost savings?

Weather is hardly the issue (though it is significant in places near the poles). It is about the different nature of carrier operations. To fly an air wing from a CTOL carrier you need a huge crew to operate complex gear (catapults, arrestors), you need to sustain high tempo flying to keep the deck clear (cyclic operations) and significant safety overheads to ensure recovery on deck of all aircraft.

For a STOVL carrier you don’t need any of that. The only drawback was with the Harrier requiring a higher flying skill benchmark for carrier qualification (vertical landings). But this is to be made redundant with the F-35B’s automatic hovering.
 

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sealordlawrence said:
Rumour has it that the RN keeps an SSN within range of the Falklands at all times.

Now look at the state of the Argentine Armed Forces

Now look at the standing Force on the Falklands

Finally, ask oneself how likely to succeed an Argentine assault would be.

Believe me (I am Argentine and former member of the Argentine army), the situation of the Fuerza Aerea Argentina is really disastrous. Anyone who knows just a little of the FAA, knows that there is no way that can perform operations on a volume similar to the conflict in 1982. Nor offensive operations, or logistics. In fact, the FAA was the only armed force engaged in the conflict, which did not apply the experiences of the war. This can be seen in the lack of air-ground guided weapons, the chronic absence of countermeasures and warning systems coupled with the lack of adequate C4I and ISR systems. Ultimately, the Air Force Argentina is in a worse situation than in 1982.
On the other hand, no one, neither politicians nor the military nor the people in Argentina would consider (or would support) a military operation to recover the islands.
I understand then that those who have taken the decision to withdraw the carriers and the Harriers are aware of the situation and why they opted to dispense with those capabilities in pursuit of cost savings.

Greetings!
 

pathology_doc

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Nik said:
IIRC, the Harrier gave rise to the wry comment that it was so much easier to stop then land, than land *then* stop...

( Of course, this rather overlooked the Harrier's, um, idiosyncratic handling and restricted time in hover, but, swings, roundabouts and simulators... ;- )

And yet, John Winton in his novel "Aircraft Carrier" makes a specific plot point about Harrier pilots having to sacrifice themselves because they could not land back on what is strongly implied to be a FULL SIZE CARRIER (i.e. basically that Ark Royal which carried Phantom/Buccaneer) in bad weather! (Mind you, he also has such a carrier defending itself more or less successfully against modern sea-skimming missiles with nothing but Seacat and Bofors guns, which is pretty much all its accompanying frigates have too, while its Harrier complement is described as carrying AMRAAM... and that, really, is the point at which suspension of disbelief evaporated and I went back to reading Tom Clancy, Larry Bond and Dale Brown for my technoporn fix.)
 
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Demon Lord Razgriz

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pathology_doc said:
And yet, John Winton in his novel "Aircraft Carrier" makes a specific plot point about Harrier pilots having to sacrifice themselves because they could not land back on what is strongly implied to be a FULL SIZE CARRIER (i.e. basically that Ark Royal which carried Phantom/Buccaneer) in bad weather! (Mind you, he also has such a carrier defending itself more or less successfully against modern sea-skimming missiles with nothing but Seacat and Bofors guns, which is pretty much all its accompanying frigates have too, while its Harrier complement is described as carrying AMRAAM... and that, really, is the point at which suspension of disbelief evaporated and I went back to reading Tom Clancy, Larry Bond and Dale Brown for my technoporn fix.)

Isn't Harrier capable of carrying 6 AMRAAM? Or is that just USMC Harriers?
 

pathology_doc

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Demon Lord Razgriz said:
Isn't Harrier capable of carrying 6 AMRAAM? Or is that just USMC Harriers?

It is, especially Sea Harrier which has (had) a dedicated air-intercept radar, although I think the number is more like four (two underwing, two on the hardpoints which normally take the Aden guns). What threw me was Harriers carrying the weapon at a time when carriers are still relying on Seacat and Bofors guns for defence. I don't recall off the top of my head when it was published, but it all seemed a bit... well, as Dr Who might say "wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff".
 

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An odd (and ironic) piece of newly revealed history: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/falklandislands/9883042/UK-considered-allowing-Argentina-Falklands-naval-base-two-weeks-before-war.html

The Foreign Office considered the possibility of allowing Argentina a naval base on the Falkland Islands just two weeks before the 1982 invasion, newly declassified documents disclose.

They show how David Joy, of the British Embassy in Buenos Aires, contacted his Chilean counterpart Raul Schmidt to discuss tensions with Argentina before filing a restricted memorandum on March 5 1982.

Chile and Argentina had long been in dispute over the possession of Picton, Lennox and Nueva islands in the Beagle Channel at the southern tip of South America and had come to the brink of war in 1978.

According to the documents, as revealed by BBC World's Spanish language service, Mr Schmidt told Mr Joy that Argentina's sovereignty disputes with Chile and Britain both stemmed from the country's desire to have a naval base further south.

"The Schmidt thesis is based essentially on the Argentine Navy's need of a strategic port further south than its current and most secure port, Puerto Belgrano, (south of the province of Buenos Aires)," one document states.

"The obvious option Ushuaia was not satisfactory from a security point of view because it is under constant Chilean surveillance.

"Therefore the Argentines are, according to Schmidt, desperate to have some other secure port further south, a goal that could be satisfied by having access to the islands south of Beagle or the Falklands. In this context, he believes the sovereignty disputes are linked."

On March 15 the report, headed 'A Common Burden with Chile?', was received and distributed to Colin Bright, manager of the South American section of the Foreign Office, and other senior officials.

Handwritten notes were then added to the documents, suggesting the British were open to the idea of negotiating an agreement for an Argentine naval base on the Falklands just two weeks before the war began.

One scribbled note states: "I think we are agreed that the Argentine interest in South Atlantic security is part of her wish to gain sovereignty over the islands. But it's only a small part. After all, if all they wanted was a naval base we could easily accommodate them."

Another in different handwriting comments: "Could we easily accommodate the Argentines on a naval base? Because this is the sort of idea which we should have in mind if negotiations do resume."

Argentina long disputed rulings that the islands in the Beagle Channel were Chilean but finally recognised them as such in 1984 following papal mediation.


Apparently the Foreign Office were overlooking Corbeta Uruguay on Thule over in the South Sandwich Islands.
 

Sea Skimmer

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Demon Lord Razgriz said:
Isn't Harrier capable of carrying 6 AMRAAM? Or is that just USMC Harriers?


I'm pretty certain they can carry six, certainly the gun pylons are usable with AMRAAM as I have seen numerous pictures with them fitted. Six such missiles though is a highly unlikely armament since it would leave the plane with no close in weapon. In principle it should be possible to fit an inner wing hard point with a twin AMRAAM launcher, if anyone felt like doing it, one exists for the F/A-18. Then you could have eight air to air missiles. Its just not much of a priority to do so given how little range you'd have.
Interestingly USMC Harriers never actually deployed on operations with AMRAAM capability in use until 2011. This was mainly because the USMC had never been able to buy the weapons and get training budgeted, the required modifications had been made.
 
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uk 75

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The tragedy of the Falklands was that in previous years Britain had had good relations with Argentina. There had even been air links with the Falklands. The Galtieri Junta made both countries pay a heavy price. Under other circumstances their brave pilots in particular might have served together in the post Cold War world
 

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Demon Lord Razgriz said:
Isn't Harrier capable of carrying 6 AMRAAM? Or is that just USMC Harriers?


I'm pretty certain they can carry six, certainly the gun pylons are usable with AMRAAM as I have seen numerous pictures with them fitted. Six such missiles though is a highly unlikely armament since it would leave the plane with no close in weapon. In principle it should be possible to fit an inner wing hard point with a twin AMRAAM launcher, if anyone felt like doing it, one exists for the F/A-18. Then you could have eight air to air missiles. Its just not much of a priority to do so given how little range you'd have.
Interestingly USMC Harriers never actually deployed on operations with AMRAAM capability in use until 2011. This was mainly because the USMC had never been able to buy the weapons and get training budgeted, the required modifications had been made.

There is the issues of it needing a tanker at the end of the ship of course with no drop tanks and all that weight (AMRAAMs are still heavy - they're long, trying lifting one, 4 man job!), not to mention drag.

Plus, the killer with Harrier, is if you don't fire them, you have to chuck most of them in the sea to get down to Vertical Landing weight. that's why there are so few pictures of them operating at sea with them, and even when at war (Balkans 90s), carrying very few.

If you land with ones on the fuselage (as you would if carrying drop tanks and short range AAMs on the outer pylons), then the landing environment writes the missile off in terms of temp, blast and acoustic hammering of the missile.

I'm told there are a fair few AMRAAMs in the Adriatic!!

The Falklands is so quiet, they should probably reduce the presence down to stored machines and say 2-3 exercises a year where people fly out to activate them and fly them. Bar a miraculous turn in Argentina's fortunes, and the lead time to restore the armed forces even to 1982 capability, any threat isn't going to be conventional anyway. That they don't try unconventional warfare (at which we know we are weak) is a sign they've no real desire apart from occasional domestic PR grandstanding.

Arguably we've spent far more now defending it than the actual re-invasion. Not in blood though of course.
 

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somethng I was thinking of randomly...

what if Argentina had access to the A-7 instead of the Super Entandard. would it change anything?
 

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This does show one thing pretty clearly: Submarines aren't the super weapon many say they are versus surface ships. The Argentine ASW capacity was hardly cutting edge or numerous and yet they were able to effectively, and more than once, protect their carrier from submarine attack.
 

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The Argentine ASW capacity was hardly cutting edge or numerous and yet they were able to effectively, and more than once, protect their carrier from submarine attack.
This was in significant part caused by RN submarines weapon shortcomings. They did not have anti-ship missiles or long-range homing torpedoes; they were limited to either unguided 21-inch torpedoes, or slow, unreliable "Tigerfish", with max range merely 13 km on 35 knots.

If Argentinean carrier group were opposed by more adequately armed submarines - Soviet, or even American - their defense would most likely fail completely.
 

T. A. Gardner

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The Argentine ASW capacity was hardly cutting edge or numerous and yet they were able to effectively, and more than once, protect their carrier from submarine attack.
This was in significant part caused by RN submarines weapon shortcomings. They did not have anti-ship missiles or long-range homing torpedoes; they were limited to either unguided 21-inch torpedoes, or slow, unreliable "Tigerfish", with max range merely 13 km on 35 knots.

If Argentinean carrier group were opposed by more adequately armed submarines - Soviet, or even American - their defense would most likely fail completely.
Well, by that standard, if the Argentines had up-to-date ASW systems, the British subs might well have found themselves hunted down and sunk...
 

Dilandu

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Well, by that standard, if the Argentines had up-to-date ASW systems, the British subs might well have found themselves hunted down and sunk.
My point was, that British subs were sub-standard (sorry for the pun) in terms of armament. And therefore were forced into situation, where even outdated Argentinean ASW capabilities were able to deter attacks. So its hardly demonstrate any significant efficiency on Argentiean side; merely that with inadequate weapons, British could not exploit their weaknesses.
 

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Of course, all of this misses the point. What caused the Argentines to fail first and foremost, was a shortsighted logistics and civil engineering problem. They had the advantage of surprise in taking the Falklands. If they assumed the British would fight to take the islands back, they could have prepared for that eventuality.

This would have meant stocking up several merchant ships with supplies for the islands that accompany the invasion and discharge their cargos. These ships supply the islands where they can hold out for months. They also bring the necessary materials to expand the Port Stanley airfield to handle Mirage and Dagger fighters along with fuel and munitions so they can fly for a protracted period.

Now they have supersonic aircraft that can use afterburner freely in defense of the islands. This creates a much greater problem for the British limited to Harriers. It also means that the British taskforce has to endure a much longer campaign. This could on it's own prove decisive in favor of the Argentines.
 

T. A. Gardner

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Well, by that standard, if the Argentines had up-to-date ASW systems, the British subs might well have found themselves hunted down and sunk.
My point was, that British subs were sub-standard (sorry for the pun) in terms of armament. And therefore were forced into situation, where even outdated Argentinean ASW capabilities were able to deter attacks. So its hardly demonstrate any significant efficiency on Argentiean side; merely that with inadequate weapons, British could not exploit their weaknesses.
Well, it doesn't sink your argument...
 

Dilandu

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Of course, all of this misses the point. What caused the Argentines to fail first and foremost, was a shortsighted logistics and civil engineering problem. They had the advantage of surprise in taking the Falklands. If they assumed the British would fight to take the islands back, they could have prepared for that eventuality.
Essentially yes, they don't exactly planned much about fighting the war after Falklands. Their basic plan was that high cost of conflict on the other side of the globe, political pressure from anti-colonial movements, risk of causing anti-West resentment in South America and general idecisivness of British government would efficiently preclude any kind of armed response. Faililing that, they have the second set of assumptions - that Royal Navy would simply be unable to support such campaign due to lack of units and personnel, and thus any armed response would most likely be limited to token efforts.


This would have meant stocking up several merchant ships with supplies for the islands that accompany the invasion and discharge their cargos. These ships supply the islands where they can hold out for months. They also bring the necessary materials to expand the Port Stanley airfield to handle Mirage and Dagger fighters along with fuel and munitions so they can fly for a protracted period.
Problem was, that prolonged conflict wasn't exactly what they wanted. For all Britain deficiences, they still have much more resources than Argentina, and fighting the war of attrition over islands would damage Argentina much more. I.e. the assumption that Falklands should be fortified to survive a prolonged siege essentially defeated the whole purpose of the war.

Now they have supersonic aircraft that can use afterburner freely in defense of the islands. This creates a much greater problem for the British limited to Harriers. It also means that the British taskforce has to endure a much longer campaign. This could on it's own prove decisive in favor of the Argentines.
Assuming that Argentina could actually sustain a much-prolonged war.
 

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what if Argentina had access to the A-7 instead of the Super Entandard. would it change anything?
Since the A-7E wasn’t Harpoon capable, such a change would have been made things worse for Argentina. What they needed was more, not fewer, Super Etendards (and Exocets).

The Super Etendard was actually very good at anti-shipping strike and had pretty decent legs with 450nm+ radius Hi-Lo-Lo-Hi…
 

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Of course, all of this misses the point. What caused the Argentines to fail first and foremost, was a shortsighted logistics and civil engineering problem. They had the advantage of surprise in taking the Falklands. If they assumed the British would fight to take the islands back, they could have prepared for that eventuality.

This would have meant stocking up several merchant ships with supplies for the islands that accompany the invasion and discharge their cargos. These ships supply the islands where they can hold out for months. They also bring the necessary materials to expand the Port Stanley airfield to handle Mirage and Dagger fighters along with fuel and munitions so they can fly for a protracted period.

Now they have supersonic aircraft that can use afterburner freely in defense of the islands. This creates a much greater problem for the British limited to Harriers. It also means that the British taskforce has to endure a much longer campaign. This could on it's own prove decisive in favor of the Argentines.

More or less their initial plan for "later in 1982" or "1983" after the British weakened themselves even more, thanks to that Nott idiot.

The invasion however had to be rushed up to spring 1982 for political reasons: the starved and humiliated population was taking the streets, the dictatorship already had one foot in the (mass) grave...

Think it was that Admiral Anaya sob that botched the job for the navy.
 

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