Friday, 18 April 2014

Odyssey of an A-4 Skyhawk Pilot during the Falklands War: Captain Alberto Jorge Philippi’s story

Whilst much has been written about the British involvement in the Falklands/Malvinas conflict a short story was written by an Argentinean pilot who was involved in the attack on the beach head at San Carlos.

The article written a year after the conflict finished describes how Captain Alberto Jorge Philippi took off from the Rio Grande naval base as a three ship A-4 Skyhawk formation and headed towards the Malvinas at 27,000 feet.

Once Philippi and his colleagues were 100 miles from the islands they dropped to an altitude of 100 feet. Philippi describes how the weather was poor with low clouds and rain as they followed the coast to the southern entrance to the San Carlos sound where they dropped to an altitude of 50 feet.

[Read also: This impressive image was taken 30 years ago today: Argentine A-4B Skyhawks low level attack on HMS Broadsword]

Even though the radar altimeter was set to sound at 30 feet, Philippi mentions how it went off numerous occasions as they sped up the sound towards the British fleet which was in the process of landing thousands of troops from amphibious landing craft.

Philippi then spotted the masts of a ship amongst the rocks at his 11 O’clock and signalled to his colleagues this was to be their target. After closing to the rocks to hide his aircraft and confuse the frigates fire control radar, Philippi turned hard wing tip skimming the wave tops to bring the target onto his nose.

Once Philippi was 1,000 – 1,500 meters from the Frigate (HMS Ardent) he performed a pop-up delivery from around 300 feet, waited for the cross hairs to meet over the bow of the ship and released his weapons.

Once the bombs were away, Philippi turned hard to the right whilst loosing the altitude he had gained to deliver his weapons back down to the 50 feet he was at prior to release.Read more HERE  

The Argentinian pilots were extremely brave and they undoubtedly did more damage to the British Forces than any other Argentinian military asset. I shot down an A4Skyhawk at San Carlos with a Rapier Missile.