Falklands Harriers

Gallery Article by Ian Buick on June 21 2016



Hi all

I recently completed a collection of Harriers that served in the Falklands War.

The 72nd scale Kits

Sea Harriers are all Hasegawa except ZA177 `77` which is Airfix.

Harrier GR.3: XZ133 `10` is Hasegawa, XZ997 `31` is Italeri.

Although both Hasegawa and Airfix Shars have their strong points and weaknesses, I would have to say that the Hase kit just edges it on a points decision which is surprising considering how much older the Hase kit is than the Airfix version (over 25 years between the two). That`s not to say that the Airfix kit is bad, but just not a patch on their superb Harrier GR7a/9a kit, also in 72nd scale, which was released around a year later than their Shar. 

As for the RAF Harriers, I found this a close call also. The Hase kit needs fuel tanks from the spares box and I added Falklands-specific gear such as the `Blue-Eric` ECM vane on the starboard gun pod and ECM dispensers near the airbrake. I took my lead from the Harrier GR.3 in the RAF Museum at Hendon and only realised later that the Harrier in the Duxford museum sported a small transponder below the nose that the Hendon exhibit doesn`t have. As a result, neither of my RAF Harriers have this attachment which was fitted for the Falklands campaign. 

My bad, as they say. 

Click on images below to see larger images

 -Sea Harrier XZ457 `14` - 800 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Hermes.

21/05/82 Lt Morrell shot down A-4 Skyhawk (0660) with a Sidewinder and damaged A-4 Skyhawk (0665) with cannon fire which crashed soon after.

24/05/82 Lt Cdr Auld shot down two Daggers (C-419 and C-430) with Sidewinders. 

Currently kept at the Boscombe Down Aviation Collection.

-Sea Harrier ZA177 `77`- 809/800 Naval Air Squadron HMS Hermes.

Flew to Ascension Island, embarked aboard Atlantic Conveyor, then flown off to HMS Hermes on arrival in South Atlantic.

08/06/82 Flt Lt Dave Morgan shot down A-4 Skyhawks C-226 and C-228.

-Sea Harrier ZA190 `009` - 801 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Invincible. 

21/05/82  Lt Steve Thomas shot down two Daggers (C-403 and C-404)

-Sea Harrier XZ451 `006` - 801 Naval Air Squadron, HMS Invincible.

01/05/82 Lt Alan Curtis shot down Canberra (B-110).

21/05/82 Lt Cdr "Sharkey" Ward shot down Pucara (A-511).

01/06/82 Lt Cdr "Sharkey" Ward shot down C-130 Hercules (TC-63) using Sidewinder and cannon.

Harrier GR.3 XZ997 `31` -1(F) Squadron RAF 

04/05/82 Flew over 4,500 miles from the UK to Ascension Island, refueled en-route by Victor tankers.

06/05/82 Embarked Atlantic Conveyor. 

18/05/82 Transferred from Atlantic Conveyor to HMS Hermes.

21/05/82 to 14/06/82 Carried out around twenty missions including armed reconnaissance, airfield denial, and close air support. Also carried out the first laser guided bomb (LGB) strikes of the war, and was engaged in such a strike (along with XZ133) when news of the Argentine surrender was relayed by a forward air controller and the strike cancelled.

Post war XZ997 became part of 1 Squadron`s `Harrier Detachment` at RAF Stanley before returning to the UK.

In 2003 XZ997 became a permanent exhibit at the RAF Museum, Hendon, still sporting several patches that were used to repair battle damage received during the Falklands War.

Harrier GR.3 XZ133 `10` -1(F) Squadron RAF

29/05/82 Flew from UK to Ascension Island.

01/06/82 Over eight hour flight from Ascension Island direct to HMS Hermes, along with XV778. It took four Victor tankers to get the Harrier pair to HMS Hermes.

02/06/82-14/06/82 carried out strikes with rockets, bombs, and cluster bombs, supported by the `Blue Eric` ECM attachment in the area of the starboard gun pod. On 11th June, XZ133 narrowly avoided a SAM explosion during a strike. 

Built in 1976, XZ133 retired to it`s permanent home at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford in 1993, where it is still on display today.

Sea Harrier Bibliography
Target Lock: Sea Harrier Service





Harrier GR.3 Bibliography




Cheers, Ian

Click on images below to see larger images


Photos and text by Ian Buick