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Authors: Di Blasi , Luciano
Royal Military College of Canada
Wakelam, Dr Randy
Keywords: Falklands War Argentine Air Force
Royal Navy Malvinas Air Power
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2022
Abstract: On 7 April 1982, the Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA) received orders to prepare itself to defend the air above the Falkland Islands from an impending British operation. To achieve this mission, the FAA deployed the entirety of its fighter-interceptor force under the command of the Fuerza Aérea Sur (FAS) to conduct air superiority operations above the Falklands. British intelligence had warned the Sea Harrier pilots of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA) that the Argentine fighters would pose a significant threat to Operation Corporate, the UK operation to re-capture the Falklands. To the surprise of the British, the first engagement between Argentine and British aircraft on 1 May 1982 proved a decisive victory for the British. Using recently released Argentine documents, pilot interviews and written testimonies, this study explores why the FAS failed to establish air superiority. These sources shed light on the deficiencies of the FAA both before and during the conflict. The study examines some of the most controversial decisions made by Argentine planners and commanders: first, the decision not to expand Port Stanley airport for fighter-interceptor operations; second, a failure to adapt air superiority doctrine to allow pilots to effectively face the British Harriers; and lastly, the surprising decision to operate Argentine aircraft at the extreme limits of their combat radius. Ultimately, this study argues that not extending the runway at Port Stanley for fighter-interceptor operations most impacted the effectiveness of Argentine air superiority operations.
Appears in Collections:Honours Theses

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