Play / pause An unexpected war

An unexpected war

  • Dr Peter Johnston


The Falklands conflict of

1982 posed an incredible challenge

For decades they'd been shaped,

in many cases with the aim of better

for fighting the Soviet Union

It was expected that this battle

of the North Atlantic,

in the skies over northern Europe

The Falklands, however, was an unexpected

The RAF in particular were presented

successfully contribute

to liberate the islanders and return them

The RAF was not used to operating

Their capabilities were built

or from friendly air bases.

And yet the sheer distance of the Falkland

4000 miles from the nearest landform

meant that the RAF

in which you could actually contribute


it was goinng to need to be supplied

essential equipment, things,

All of these things

The RAF was going to provide those.

But how could be

involve itself in strike operations

The RAF mobilized straight away,

from the UK to Ascension.

That really rivaled any airlift

operation undertaken

This was the first major contribution

and it's something that they maintained

This required them

that had fallen into abeyance or been lost

For the Hercules, for example.

Aircraft need to be modified heavily.

And it wasn't just a question

of putting in a system

This was a system

needed to be designed tested

And it was a major triumph and success

so, so effectively,

Another example of innovation,

and then resolving them on the spot

came with the fitting

These were surveillance aircraft.

They were not necessary

but operate in a huge range

with an air to air refueling capability

meant they needed to defend themselves

fighters ever and was quite

But again,

this was something that the RAF found

They tested it, they worked it up

And it's just one of many examples

but also of overcoming challenges

from the Falklands campaign for not just

  • Nimrod with Sidewinder missiles

    © RAF Museum

  • Favourite

    You have to be logged in to use favourites.

  • Report

Back to search results

More RAF Stories

Please note our website uses cookies to improve your experience. I understand. For more information see Privacy Notice & Cookies