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Airpower

RN Sea Harrier on the Filght Deck of HMS Fearless
Harriers coming in to land on HMS Hermes
Sea Harrier taking off from HMS Invincible

Airpower was crucial to the recapture of the Falklands.  This has to be seen not only in the context of a relatively powerful Argentine air force and naval aviation but also related to operations at sea and on land.

British airpower was exercised by all three British services.  The RAF provided airlift to Ascension Island and beyond, conducted maritime reconnaissance, provided airborne fuel and was able to bomb the runway at Stanley.  Further, Harrier GR3 aircraft, mainly for ground attack, were deployed both from sea and latterly on shore.  Royal Marine and Army Air Corps helicopters gave direct support to the land forces.

The Royal Navy supplied most of the airpower off the Falklands in many different ways.  Helicopters present in most naval units were very versatile providing antisubmarine defence, attack of surface targets, supporting special forces and other land operations, medical and rescue support, and providing the everyday but very necessary ability to move people and stores around the ships.  Latterly many were based ashore.  Sea Harrier VTOL fighter provided the main longer-range air defence as well as attacking ground targets.  They played a very large part in the reduction of Argentine offensive airpower.  The whole airpower effort was characterised by an ability to improvise; for example, both aircraft carriers had far more than their normal peacetime capacity.