Aviation Historian 41
C.Gibson - Beyond Black Buck?
Had the Vulcan mainland attack plan been given the green light, the sole bomber would have targeted one of three airbases in southern Argentina, including the FAeA's BAM San Julian - home to the A-4Cs of the IV Brigada Aerea, six examples of which are seen here. The unit flew 106 combat sorties from San Julian during the conflict.
The alternative - when the “appreciation” of the prospective Vulcan mainland operation was prepared in late May 1982, the Paveway II laser-guided bomb was being readied for action over the Falklands, and saw use fitted to the RAF’s Harrier GR.3s during the conflict. Here a Paveway II has been fitted to the outer pylon of a No 1 Sqn Harrier GR.3 aboard HMS Hermes.
As with the completed Operation Black Buck sorties, the prospective mainland attack plan would have called for a remarkable logistics operation, particularly regarding the tasking of the RAF’s Handley Page Victor K.2 tanker force. Reportedly, more than a million gallons of fuel were used in each completed Black Buck sortie.
Weapon of choice - the Air Staff planners examined the weapons that were available, could be used and which would have the most effect. The 1,000lb General Purpose (GP) bomb was selected and a stick of 21 deemed preferable. Here, Vulcan B.2 XM599 of No 35 Sqn releases a stick of 1,000lb GP bombs in 1965.
Although no bombing attacks were undertaken on the Argentinian mainland, three of the five completed Operation Black Buck sorties had as their targets the airport at Stanley. Here, smoke and craters litter the airfield after a bombing sortie. Note Cessna 172 VP-FAS to the right of the photograph.