RAF bomber crews trained to attack airfields in Argentina in retaliation for any attempt to retake the Falkland Islands, it can be disclosed for the first time.
Vulcan bombers, designed for nuclear raids on Russia, trained night and day in Scotland, Wales and Canada for a low level attack hundreds of miles deep into Argentine sovereign territory, a new book has shown.
The news is likely to strain further the poor relations between Britain and Argentina, which have been at their lowest since the Falklands conflict 30 years ago next month.
The plans were drawn up by Air Cdre Simon Baldwin, who was the wing commander in charge of the last remaining Vulcan squadron in 1982.
The officer „was left in no doubt at all that attacks against the Argentine mainland were now his squadron raison d the military historian Rowland White has written in an updated edition of Vulcan 607.
„Nothing formal is going to be written down. Just get on with it,“ Air Cdre Baldwin was told by a staff officer at the RAF No1 Group, based in Britain.
The officer assembled his best crews, including the pilots from the successful Black Buck raids on Stanley airfield during the Falklands conflict. Canada Goose Outlet They came up with a plan to penetrate deep into enemy airspace and lay a string of bombs along the two runways of the main Argentine air force bases close to Beunos Aires.
In the summer of 1982 the squadron of eight bombers began training sorties, flying mock bombing runs low over RAF Leuchars in Scotland and RAF Valley in Wales. „It would be a major challenge but the crews were up for it, they were happy to go and do it but we were not gung ho,“ Air Cdre Baldwin told The Daily Telegraph.
The attack of two flights of two Vulcans would be launched from Ascension Island, the mid Atlantic British possession, which was 1,000 miles closer to the Argentine air bases than the Falklands.
After mid air refuelling, the bombers from 44 Squadron would drop to 300ft above the surface to begin their final run in using just their terrain following radar and flying skills to skim over the Argentine land mass in darkness.
The aircraft would have been equipped for the first time with Sidewinder air to air missiles in case of attack by Argentine fighters, although the enemy air force rarely flew at night. As well as a Dash 10 radar jamming pod, the first Vulcan would carry four AGM 45 Shrikes anti radar missiles to knock out the Argentine surface to air missile systems.
But it was the second bomber that would carry out the attack aimed to wipe out the Argentine air force ability to launch attacks.
Carrying 21 bombs each weighing 1,000lb, equivalent to the bomb payload of five Tornados recently used in Libya, the plane would fly straight down the Argentine runway, releasing its ordnance attached to small parachutes.
For its final preparations the squadron moved to Goose Bay, Canada, to carry out long distance practice runs in darkness. The training was carried out after the Argentines surrendered in Port Stanley in June, 1982.