Sea Power - Sea Harrier FRS.1

More from Chris French FGAvA

Sea Harrier FRS.1 HMS Hermes Falklands War 1982 Aviation Art Print Painting by Artist Chris French FGAvA


When Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands in 1982, aviation writers and many in Britain's armed forces were openly sceptical of the Royal Navy's ability to maintain air superiority over the area with the limited numbers of the subsonic Sea Harrier FRS.1 available. 


The aircraft had been delivered to serve aboard the three 'Through-deck cruisers', HMS Illustrious, Invincible and Ark Royal, designed to replace the last of Britain's large carriers, the preceding HMS Ark Royal. At the time, only Invincible had been completed and the 1950s vintage HMS Hermes was given a stay of execution to head the taskforce, complete with ski-ramp and other equipment for Sea Harrier operations that had been fitted the previous year. 


A large, if somewhat rag-tag, taskforce of every conceivable type of ship left for the South Atlantic in early April and the two Sea Harrier air groups, totalling only 28 aircraft, were soon tested in combat.


The success the aircraft was to have against much faster opposition had not been anticipated but Fleet Air Arm pilots were to do an outstanding job in the face of appalling weather conditions , holding combat air patrols over both the Task Force and the main landing areas and in doing so shooting down 20 Argentine aircraft for the loss of six Harriers, none during Air-to Air combat.  The Sea Harrier had proven that, with a well-trained pilots, good radar and the sidewinder missile, it could succeed against much faster opposition. 


Chris French's aviation art painting print is a tribute to a piece of Britain's aviation heritage that proved itself in one of the most testing environments possible.



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