Aviation Historian 40
C.Gibson - Pirates of the South Atlantics
Built by Cammell Laird in Birkenhead and launched on December 30, 1943, Colossus-class aircraft carrier HMS Venerable served with the Royal Navy for three years before being sold to the Dutch Navy as HNLMS Karel Doorman. In 1968 the carrier was sold to the Argentinian Navy to become ARA Veinticinco de Mayo, as seen here.
The Argentinian Navy aircraft carrier Veinticinco de Mayo at sea. Note the Douglas A-4Q Skyhawks on the foredeck.
A two-aircraft formation of Buccaneers of No 237 Operational Conversion Unit, led by Gp Capt Tom Eeles in the nearest, in March 1987.
The primary weapon to be used for the operation was the AJ.168 TV-Martel air-to-surface missile carried by a Buccaneer S.2B. Here XX895 is carrying TV-Martels on the port inner and starboard outer pylons, an AS.37 anti-radiation variant on the port outer pylon and the datalink pod for the TV-Martel on the starboard inner pylon.
Each Buccaneer would have required five Handley Page Victor tanker sorties on the route to the target area in the Bahia Blanca. These Buccaneers are carrying TV-Martel practice pods and practice bomb-carriers, probably the weapons load-out that would have been used for practice runs had the operation got the green light.
A crucial component of the operation was the BAe Nimrod, which was to undertake the vital gathering of targeting intelligence in a racetrack pattern at the mouth of the Bahia Blanca. The Nimrod would have to be the recently upgraded MR.2 variant, with Searchwater radar, refuelling probe and Sidewinder AAMs, as seen here.
Nimrod MR.2 XV238 takes on fuel from the ventral refuelling point of a Victor K.2 of No 57 Sqn.