19 December 2009

While BAe Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft were deployed to the South Atlantic in 1982 Falklands War to protect the British naval task force from Argentine surface vessels and submarines, the Nimrod also had two little-known roles during that conflict. The first role was that of "the largest fighter aircraft" when AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles were cleared for firing from underwing hardpoints with the intent of targeting the Argentinian's Boeing 707s that were being used to shadow the British naval task force. In addition, the AGM-84 Harpoon missile was cleared for use on the Nimrod in the anti-shipping role, though neither the Sidewinder or the Harpoon were fired in anger during the conflict.

The more obscure role of the Nimrod during the Falklands was that as a back up for the Avro Vulcan "Black Buck" bombing missions. The long range of the Nimrod made it a natural for the overland bombing role and a rudimentary bombsight was configured for use by the co-pilot to drop either 1000 lb air-retarded bombs or BL755 cluster bombs. A trial drop was even conducted at the Garvie Island range in Scotland.

Source: Air Forces Monthly, December 2009. "More Than A Sub-Hunter!" by Jon Lake, 32-35.

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