Monday, April 10, 2006

Holiday reading - Sea Harrier over the Falklands

Did you know that over 30 years ago Britain had a fighter that could better F15's - and it hadn't even been designed as a fighter ? Flown from what were not 'Aircraft carriers', as that would upset the Govt and RAF, but through deck cruisers ?

If your looking for something to entertain over the holidays - can I recommend Sea Harrier over the Falklands. Its the personal story of the CO of 801 Squadron FAA on the Invincible. Perhaps of more interest than the historical story is the intra and inter service rivalry that it documents.

I've read in through twice ( lost on an air plane to Denmark once - had to buy another copy ) and just picked it up again last night. 'Sharkey' Ward gives you a real feeling for being a fighter pilot in one of the last real air combat engagements of the last 40 years. It however leaves you with the feeling that British top brass and the MOD will not succeed in holding onto the Falklands in the long run. See his comments on the new Stanley airfield at the end.

By the way the last operational Sea Harriers were decommissioned a few weeks ago - the Royal Navy has no replacement until the new carriers are built, the JSF in operational and the Americans let us at the source code that controls the aircraft. The official line is that the Navy will be OK in the mean time as we can rely on other countries aircraft carriers and our missile systems. That's certainly not the impression that 'Sharkey' Ward's book leaves you with.

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