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View Full Version : Good read: "Vulcan 607" by Rowland White



Bo_Nidle
07-23-2007, 05:00 PM
"Vulcan 607" tells the story of the "Black Buck" mission undertaken by the RAF to bomb Port Stanley airfield at the start of the Falklands Conflict in 1982.

The mission distance was 8000 miles and carried out by an aircraft that for all intents and purposes was obsolete, had not had a functional air-to-air refuelling system for 20 years and the crews had not trained to refuel this way for the same time period.A bomb aiming device that was not too much different from the original HS2 radar used in WW2. Had to retrain the crew on conventional bombing techniques as they had been solely concentrating on dropping nukes for decades, had to jury-rig a jamming system designed for the Buccaneer, locate the original bomb racks from a scrapyard in Newark (UK) where they had been sold by the MoD. The obstacles go on and on.

The mission required a 13 Victor tankers carrying out 19 mid-air refuellings, a Nimrod, two Vulcans (primary XL598 and back-up XL607 - XL607 carried out the mission), 90 aircrew and an awful lot of ingenuity.

In short its a fantastic example of what Her Majesty's Armed Forces do best: Succeed despite the total lack of funding and technology. It would be nice if just once UK forces could go into combat without the arse hanging out of their trousers.Imagine what the RAF could do with the funding and technology of the USAF!!!!

I was at RAF Waddington at the time. I can remember seeing all the extra activity and wondering what was afoot!

Very cool aircraft that will hopefully be back up where she belongs this year. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

Its a very well written and gripping account and recommended to any military aviation enthusiast:
http://img.tesco.com/pi/Books/L/11/9780593053911.jpg

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/EF443BD3-915E-49E7-AEB9-DEEA85D09996/0/vulcan3.jpg

Bo_Nidle
07-23-2007, 05:00 PM
"Vulcan 607" tells the story of the "Black Buck" mission undertaken by the RAF to bomb Port Stanley airfield at the start of the Falklands Conflict in 1982.

The mission distance was 8000 miles and carried out by an aircraft that for all intents and purposes was obsolete, had not had a functional air-to-air refuelling system for 20 years and the crews had not trained to refuel this way for the same time period.A bomb aiming device that was not too much different from the original HS2 radar used in WW2. Had to retrain the crew on conventional bombing techniques as they had been solely concentrating on dropping nukes for decades, had to jury-rig a jamming system designed for the Buccaneer, locate the original bomb racks from a scrapyard in Newark (UK) where they had been sold by the MoD. The obstacles go on and on.

The mission required a 13 Victor tankers carrying out 19 mid-air refuellings, a Nimrod, two Vulcans (primary XL598 and back-up XL607 - XL607 carried out the mission), 90 aircrew and an awful lot of ingenuity.

In short its a fantastic example of what Her Majesty's Armed Forces do best: Succeed despite the total lack of funding and technology. It would be nice if just once UK forces could go into combat without the arse hanging out of their trousers.Imagine what the RAF could do with the funding and technology of the USAF!!!!

I was at RAF Waddington at the time. I can remember seeing all the extra activity and wondering what was afoot!

Very cool aircraft that will hopefully be back up where she belongs this year. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif

Its a very well written and gripping account and recommended to any military aviation enthusiast:
http://img.tesco.com/pi/Books/L/11/9780593053911.jpg

http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/EF443BD3-915E-49E7-AEB9-DEEA85D09996/0/vulcan3.jpg

danjama
07-23-2007, 05:06 PM
Vulcan to the sky!!! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/crackwhip.gif

Beauty. Wish i could help the cause...

Might give this book a read, caught my eye a few times http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

Taylortony
07-23-2007, 05:41 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">

Very cool aircraft that will hopefully be back up where she belongs this year. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Just lets say I have heard the words "not this year"........ and leave it at that, because I do not want to quote and name sources if it is indeed wrong....

Must be all those years of sitting in your little glass box that taught you how to read http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

Whirlin_merlin
07-23-2007, 11:45 PM
Lots of controversy over 'the value for money' of that mission, Sharky Ward reckoned it a real white elephent.

However imagine the response at the Argentine command.

'If they can put a bomber over Port Stanly then they can er.........hang on, I need to make a phone call...........hello hon', just listen grab the kids and go visit your sister in the country for a bit.........okay sorry where were we?'

Bo_Nidle
07-24-2007, 06:48 AM
I agree that its effect-v-cost will always be the subject of controversy. However as you pointed out it did give the Argentinians pause for thought in as much as targets on the mainland could be reached therefore they had to divert resources to home air defence. The damage to the runway, while not massive, was severe enough to prevent them moving in their A-4's,Daggers and Super Etendards. Plus the threat to them if they had moved in was considerable. All this combined to force these aircraft to operate at long range limiting their offensive capability.

I think its main effect was akin to the Doolittle raid of WW2. Here was an enemy that was feeling pretty smug about the fact that the UK ability to attack them was remote due to distance. The result was to remove that perceived security from the enemy and above all to show the Falkland Islanders and people in the UK that we were prepared to make extraordinary efforts to maintain our freedom.

However it would have been even more effective if the Government had not scrapped the Royal Navy's proper carriers along with their F-4's and Buccaneers leaving the UK with a couple of through-deck cruisers and six little Harriers apiece. I am not suggesting the Harrier was not capable, its air to air record shows how good it was, but the F-4's and Bucc's could have put a lot more ordnance on target in larger numbers. As I said previously:-fighting with the arse hanging out of our trousers. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

HMS Ark Royal - a real aircraft carrier

http://navy-matters.beedall.com/images/arkroyal3.jpg

leitmotiv
07-24-2007, 07:21 AM
When I saw the RN sailing from Portsmouth for the south on TV from the States, I thought of ARK ROYAL going to the breakers just two years earlier and winced. I do not think the Argentines would have tried it if they knew they would have had to face a fleet carrier with Phantoms which would have been bloody paralyzers on their third-rank AF. I imagine some teeth were getting ground down in the Admiralty, too. Thanks for the tip on the Vulcan book. I had no idea it was such a job to put up the bombers.

Beaufort-RAF
07-24-2007, 09:13 AM
Ironic that the Argentine's conventional carrier, the Veinticinco de Mayo was a former Royal Navy vessel, HMS Venerable, built in WW2 and constructed at the same shipyard in Birkenhead where the submarine that sank the Belgrano was built (HMS Conqueror).

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/70/ARA25mayo_-_1985.jpg

whiteladder
07-24-2007, 09:52 AM
When I did my basic training in the Royal Navy one of the Petty Officers in the training division had been the sonar operator aboard HMS Conqueror when it torpedoed the Belgrano. He was a very experienced operator and described in great detail the attack, and the aftermath. He could hear the sounds of the ship breaking apart as is sank and the water rushing into compartments. He said the was a lot of excitement in the sub initially after the attack, but this was quickly replaced with a very sombre mood.

He also said the after the attack the whole Argentine navy returned to port which apparently ruined an attack been executed by another British nuclear sub on the 25th de Mayo, the Argentine carrier. It was within 20 minutes of being in the correct firing postion when the carrier altered course.

http://www.warship.get.net.pl/_History/Galleries/Belgrano_02.jpg


HMS Conquerer returning to faslane flying the Jolly Roger ( with ship to mark the attack on the Belgrano and a Dagger to mark a clandestine operation.)
http://www.raf.mod.uk/falklands/images/jollyroger.jpg

Bo_Nidle
07-24-2007, 05:44 PM
I remember all the liberal hand wringing over the sinking of the Belgrano in the UK and it annoyed me then and still does now. It was an enemy warship, we were at war, it was a major threat, therefore the only course of action was to eliminate it.

While I feel sorry for those sailors killed, and their families, I would feel a lot worse for our casualties had it been able to engage the UK task force or our land forces post-landing.

As has been said its sinking caused the remaining Argentinian Naval forces to stay out of the conflict so it could be argued that its sinking prevented further loss of life on both sides.

On the subject of the conflict there was a very good TV film made about the initial invasion and resistance by the Royal Marines and Islanders against the invasion called "An Ungentlemanly Act" and starred Ian Richardson and Bob Peck. I recommend that too, if only for the scene where the Falkland islander walks through the middle of the firefight between Marines and Argie special forces at Government House carrying a white handkerchief on a stick and his sandwich box:

ROYAL MARINE SGT: "OI! KNOBHEAD! GET YOUR 'EAD DOWN"
ISLANDER (STILL WALKING): "IT'S ALRIGHT FOR YOU LOT! SOME OF US HAVE GOT JOBS TO GO TO!"
RM SGT: "I DON'T KNOW WHY WE'RE BOTHERING HERE LADS!" (STARTS FIRING AGAIN)

Highly recommend it
http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Z06JCBKTL._SS500_.jpg

Beaufort-RAF
07-26-2007, 05:40 AM
Talking of Royal Navy carriers, officially confirmed on Wednesday (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/6914788.stm).

No doubt they'll go massively over budget and be at least five years late into service. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/07/uk_enl_1185372856/img/1.jpg

ploughman
07-26-2007, 05:46 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Bo_Nidle:
I remember all the liberal hand wringing over the sinking of the Belgrano in the UK and it annoyed me then and still does now. It was an enemy warship, we were at war, it was a major threat, therefore the only course of action was to eliminate it.

While I feel sorry for those sailors killed, and their families, I would feel a lot worse for our casualties had it been able to engage the UK task force or our land forces post-landing.

As has been said its sinking caused the remaining Argentinian Naval forces to stay out of the conflict so it could be argued that its sinking prevented further loss of life on both sides.

On the subject of the conflict there was a very good TV film made about the initial invasion and resistance by the Royal Marines and Islanders against the invasion called "An Ungentlemanly Act" and starred Ian Richardson and Bob Peck. I recommend that too, if only for the scene where the Falkland islander walks through the middle of the firefight between Marines and Argie special forces at Government House carrying a white handkerchief on a stick and his sandwich box:

ROYAL MARINE SGT: "OI! KNOBHEAD! GET YOUR 'EAD DOWN"
ISLANDER (STILL WALKING): "IT'S ALRIGHT FOR YOU LOT! SOME OF US HAVE GOT JOBS TO GO TO!"
RM SGT: "I DON'T KNOW WHY WE'RE BOTHERING HERE LADS!" (STARTS FIRING AGAIN)

Highly recommend it
http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Z06JCBKTL._SS500_.jpg </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

It's a good show that one, like the bit where the biddy pops up behind two Marines who are about to engage an Argentine armoured vehicle and says something along the lines of "I expect you two would like a nice cup of tea?" They, rather rudely, tell her to leg it sharpish as they're trying to have a battle.

leitmotiv
07-26-2007, 05:55 AM
Hand it to a Labour Govt to OK a midget fleet carrier too small to launch aircraft quickly, and too small to absorb a powerful cruise missile. It is a modern version of the post-WWI HERMES. Better to have built a single formidable fleet carrier which would pack a punch offensively and have considerable staying power. Labour is always bad for the RN.

whiteladder
07-26-2007, 06:32 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Hand it to a Labour Govt to OK a midget fleet carrier too small to launch aircraft quickly, and too small to absorb a powerful cruise missile. It is a modern version of the post-WWI HERMES. Better to have built a single formidable fleet carrier which would pack a punch offensively and have considerable staying power. Labour is always bad for the RN. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Not sure you could class a 65,000 tonnes carrier a midget. It will be the largest warship ever operated by the RN.

Ships almost alway end up larger than the design spec and by the time they are completed they will be the largest warships outside of the USA.

The problem with having 1 large carrier is that it gives you no spare capacity while the ship is in refit, and given that refit periods from RN carriers last about 18 months that would have caused a massive gap in the capability.

ploughman
07-26-2007, 06:44 AM
Seems the French are having one too, after the trouble they had getting the de Gaul ship shape they've had their fill of nukes, so this will be three ship class.

HMS Daring put to sea this week for her sea trials. http://www.defencetalk.com/news/uploads/1/warship-advanced-royalnavy.jpg

leitmotiv
07-26-2007, 07:04 AM
Right you are, whiteladder. I just cringe seeing one launch ramp. I was expecting something more like the second carrier ARK ROYAL in terms of the flight deck. She looks annoyingly like a bigger INVINCIBLE class (granted, much bigger). I suspect some bright spark civil servant said, "Well, you don't really need to launch VTOL traditionally, do you?"

ploughman
07-26-2007, 07:26 AM
The F-35s are going to be STOVL Leit. The deck is designed for but not equipped for CTOL operations so at some future point the whole ski ramp thing can be replaced with a more sensible set up. Really, if we're going to have grown up size ships perhaps we could have the grown up COTL F-35 too. The maximum launch rate in the STOVL configuration is 24 aircraft in 15 minutes and the maximum recovery is 24 aircraft in 24 minutes.

It would be interesting to compare this launch tempo with the French CTOL design, but I've not seen any figures on it. The CDG has a launch rate of 1 aircraft every 30s, with 2 cats.

leitmotiv
07-26-2007, 08:58 AM
Looks like there is method in it, Ploughman! The other thing---if they are launching all those F-35s vertically, they won't be able to pack much of a payload, and they will be using up a lot of fuel getting up, won't they? Some of those F-35s will have to be tankers. I hope they work out. At least the RN will have some carrier punch again. Maybe with UAV bombers they'll come into their own?

ploughman
07-26-2007, 09:19 AM
They'll only be recovered in VTOL mode on the carriers Leit, they'll be launched without a catapult over the ski ramp which means a meaningful payload. There is a bit of a drop in performance betwix the F-35B and the conventional approach, it has to carry around that lift fan after all.

As far as I can surmise the reasons for the STOVL are that makes for a less complicated ship, costs less, has less to go wrong, (assuming the planes work) and the conditions for launching and recovery are broader than a CATOBAR equipped carrier, meaning you can conduct operations in cr@pper weather which would have mattered in the South Atlantic. The 25th May was unable to launch its strike against the UK taskforce because of conditions that would not have hindered the UK carriers, oddly enough for that part of the world it was the weather was too calm not too stormy and the Argentine carrier couldn't get enough wind over its deck to get its planes up.

I still think STOVL's a bean counter's solution though.

whiteladder
07-26-2007, 09:52 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I still think STOVL's a bean counter's solution though. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Its the bean counters solution in the sense that the aircraft that make up the airgroup will initial be made up from Joint force Harrier and then by what ever flavour of F35 the RAF decide to purchase and at the moment they are firmly backing the STOVL version.

The UK`s buy of F35 is also likely to drop to as little as 110 airframes, which when you take into account airframes that will be in deep maintentence will only just be enough to provide 2 full airgroups.

To do this with the CTOL version would require the whole force to stay carrier qualified (costly and time consuming) and thats if there is time from the commiments the RAF will have for the aircraft and crews.

A STOVL version doesn`t require the aircrew to have any extra training to operate from sea.

ploughman
07-26-2007, 09:56 AM
From that point of view it makes more sense.

Taylortony
07-26-2007, 06:11 PM
by the time it comes into service the whole of the UK armed forces should be able to be accommodated on board anyway........

Better than the last 3, they could only carry enough aircraft to maintain a CAP to protect the carrier........ Therefore the carrier was there to carry the aircraft and the aircraft were there to protect the carrier.... anything else and they couldn't protect the carrier properly........ stupid idea and a flawed design concept.

whiteladder
07-27-2007, 03:02 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Therefore the carrier was there to carry the aircraft and the aircraft were there to protect the carrier.... anything else and they couldn't protect the carrier properly........ stupid idea and a flawed design concept. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Don`t forget that the current RN was designed for a completely different time and place. Almost all of the current force has been designed to hunt Soviet submarines in the GIUK gap or to protect that force. Even the Type 23 frigates which largely came in to service after the cold war ended were design primarily to hunt Soviet Subs.

The Invincible class carriers were never designed to provide organic Air defence, they were designed to support the largest number of ASW helicopters in the smallest amount of tonnage.

The RAF actually lobbied against a larger replacement for the Ark Royal on the grounds that they could provide all the necessary air cover in the likely theather of operations, i.e the North Atlantic. In fact when the class was first muted they were called "Through Deck Cruisers" and then "ASW cruisers", in fact anything but aircraft carriers to get them past the Crabs at the Ministry of Defence.

Obviously the RN never had to face a Soviet Sub attack and increasingly had to perform a roll it historically always had done, expeditionary, littoral, and blue water operations.

But because it became so focussed on a single role in the 1970`s it has struggled in some respects to handle other roles(the performance of Sea Dart during the Falkland war is a classic example.), but the complete rebuilding of the amphibous force and the new carriers show it is heading back in the right direction.

And having said all that the Invicible class has given good service, and have play a part in almost every single military operation the UK has embarked on since they were built.

leitmotiv
07-27-2007, 04:59 AM
More on "Big Lizzie":

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/design-preparations...rc=did&type=textlink (http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/design-preparations-continue-for-britains-new-cvf-future-carrier-updated-01630/?camp=newsletter&src=did&type=textlink)

She looks better seen in this plan:

http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/images/SHIP_CVF_4-Carrier_Comparison_lg.jpg

Do I see two catapults? In that case, all is forgiven! But, only two elevators? Kiyiyi!!!!

whiteladder
07-27-2007, 08:22 AM
First ever Catapult launch of the F-35 captured on video..

http://my.break.com/media/view.aspx?ContentID=338757


P.S this will probably be the version the Brits end up being able to afford!!

ploughman
07-27-2007, 09:47 AM
That guy's approach to health and safety is pretty similar to my own. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif