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Dec 1 16 12:16 AM
Black Buck 5 - This mission, flown by Squadron Leader Neil McDougall and his crew from 50 Squadron in XM597, on 31 May, was the first completed anti-radar mission equipped with AGM-45A Shrike missiles. The main target was a Westinghouse AN/TPS-43 long range 3D radar that the Argentine Air Force deployed during April to guard the airspace surrounding the Falklands. An attack could only succeed if the targeted radar continued transmitting until struck. At 08:45Z two Shrikes were launched at it. The first missile impacted 10 metres away from the target, causing minor blast damage to the wave-guide assembly, but not disabling the radar. The Argentine operators then turned their radar off, preventing further damage. The AN/TPS-43 radar remained operational during the rest of the conflict. XM598 acted as flying reserve aircraft, again piloted by Squadron Leader Alastair Montgomery.
Black Buck 6 - This mission, again flown by Squadron Leader Neil McDougall in XM597, was now armed with four missiles instead of two. Black Buck Six loitered for 40 minutes in a vain effort to engage the unswitched AN/TPS-43. Finally they fired two Shrikes and destroyed a Skyguard fire-control radar of the army's 601 Anti-aircraft battalion on 3 June, killing four radar operators - an officer, a sergeant and two privates. On its return flight the aircraft was forced to divert to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil after its in-flight refuelling probe broke. One of the missiles it was carrying was ditched into the ocean to reduce drag, but the other remained stuck on the pylon and could not be released. Sensitive documents containing classified information were jettisoned into the sea via the crew hatch, and a "Mayday" signal was sent. The aircraft was cleared to land by Brazilian authorities with less than 2,000 lbs of fuel remaining, not enough to complete a circuit of the airport.
The aircraft was interned for nine days at Galeão Air Force Base, then the crew and aircraft were returned on 11 June, having been treated well by the authorities. However, the remaining Shrike missile was confiscated and never returned, and the Brazilian authorities returned the aircraft on condition that it would take no further part in the Falklands War. XM598 acted as flying reserve aircraft, flown once again by Squadron Leader Alastair Montgomery.
Dec 2 16 12:57 AM
I was given to understand that the Shrike launches were unsuccessful, the Argentinian radar operators were able to detect their approach and shut down long enough for the Shrikes to fall out of the sky. Still, knowing the time and date the AN/TPS-43 was hit would help work out what did it.
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