Falklands Sea Harrier FS1
Over @ britmodeller.com Nick Greenhall has posted some great potted histories of Falklands SHARs. Rather than lose them forever in the depths of the forums I've saved a couple for reference purposes here -TIA guys!
First up is black XZ457/14 of HMS Hermes’s Air Group pictured above in 1982.
On 1 May 1981 XZ457 armed with three Delayed Action 1,000lb bombs was flown by Lt Andy McHarg, ‘Tartan 3’, for the raid on the airstrip at Goose Green which took place at the same time as the raid on Port Stanley; the return of the SHARs from both raids being immortalised by the BBC reporter, Brian Hanrahan with his famous: “… I counted them all out and I counted them all back.”
On 21 May, Lt Clive Morrell destroyed A-4Q Skyhawk 0660/3-A-307 of 3 Escuadrilla with an AIM-9L and damaged A-4Q Skyhawk 0665/3-A-312 of 3 Escuadrilla with cannon fire, this A-4Q being lost while attempting an emergency landing; both pilots, Capitan de Corbetta Philipi and Teniente de Navio Arca, ejected safely. On 24 May, Lt Cdr Andy Auld destroyed two Daggers C-419 and C-430 of Grupo 6 with two AIM-9Ls; both pilots, Mayor Puga and Capitan Diaz, ejected safely.
By 14 June, XZ457 had flown 66 operational sorties, dropped three 1,000lb bombs, fired six hundred and eighty 30mm cannon rounds and three AIM-9Ls.
On 21 July it returned to Portsmouth on HMS Hermes with the addition of two white Mirage stencils above a white Skyhawk stencil below the cockpit on the port side. Both gun pods were overall Dark Green replacements from a Harrier GR.3. The camera panel on the starboard side was a MSG painted replacement (from ZA194). On 22nd July XZ457/14 was flown back to RNAS Yeovilton. XZ457/14 was the top-scoring SHAR from HMS Hermes.
First Flight 4th December 1981, pilot Heinz Frick. On 2nd April 1982, ZA191 arrived on Hermes as --/718 of 899 NAS, with no VL base code or 899 badges on its fin just the ROYAL NAVY titles. After EDSG over-painting it became black 18, of Hermes’ Air Group.
1st May, ZA191 armed with three 600lb Cluster Bomb Units (CBUs) it was flown by Lt Cdr Rod Frederiksen, ‘Tartan Leader’, during the raid on the airstrip at Goose Green. Lt Cdr Frederiksen may have been the pilot who destroyed Pucara A-527 of Grupo 3 with one CBU.
9th May, Flt Lt David Morgan strafed the Argentine intelligence trawler Narwal.
16th May, Lt Simon Hargreaves strafed the Argentine supply vessel Bahia Buen Suceso, the aircraft being damaged by AAA in the starboard tailplane. A repair patch was applied, firstly a pale disc but by 19th July a square blue patch.
23rd May, Flt Lt John Leeming, with Flt Lt David Morgan in ZA192/92, strafed Augusta A-109A AE-337 until it crashed.
24th May, Lt Cdr Mike Blissett with Lt Cdr Neill Thomas in XZ496/27 loft-bombed the airfield at Port Stanley with VT 1,000lb bombs in a defence-suppression raid ahead of a low level attack by four Harrier GR.3s.
25th May, Lt Clive Morrell with Lt Cdr Neill Thomas in XZ455/12 loft-bombed Port Stanley airfield ahead of a Harrier attack.
31st May, Lt Clive Morrell flew this aircraft armed with two 1,000lb Paveway Laser Guided Bombs with Harrier GR.3 XZ989/07 flown by Sqn Ldr Peter Harris being used as the target designator. XZ455/12 flown by Lt Andy McHarg and XZ460/26 flown by Lt Cdr Rod Frederiksen accompanied them, both aircraft equipped with 1,000lb bombs. The target on Mount Usbourne was too close to British positions so a target in Port Stanley was selected. The results of the attack are not known, but indications are that it was decided that a Forward Air Controller (FAC) with a designator needed to be in place before the few valuable LGBs available could be used to best effect. This is the only LGB attack undertaken by a SHAR.
By 14th June, ZA191 had flown 71 operational sorties, dropping two LGBs and firing six hundred 30mm cannon rounds, sharing in the destruction of two ships and one helicopter. On 19th July it was flown from Hermes to RNAS Yeovilton before the ship docked at Portsmouth.
It later served with 899 NAS as 712 until 1983, moving to 800 NAS as 123 up to April 1987. It joined 801 NAS on 14th August 1989, coded 004. Less than two months later, on 4th October 1989, ZA191 hit HMS Ark Royal's mast during a flypast damaging the wingtip and RCV. Lt Simmonds-Short ejected safely over Lyme Bay leaving ZA191 to crash into the sea. It had flown for 1,717 hours.
One of the last photos ever taken of ZA191/R/004 shows her with the rest of 801 NAS outbound from RNAS Yeovilton to join HMS Ark Royal in the English Channel on 2nd October 1989. The nearest aircraft is another Falklands veteran ZA176. (Photo: Crown Copyright & article info credit Nick Greenhall)