On May 23rd 1982, HMS Antelope was hit during an air strike on the British ships at San Carlos where British troops were being landed on to the Falklands. The attacking Argentine pilot flew his aircraft so low that as he passed over Antelope his wing struck the radar mast although he was able to maintain control and return to Argentina.
One of his stick of bombs broke through the hull of the ship killing steward Mark Steven however its arming pin had failed to engage. A follow up attack saw a second bomb strike the ship but again the weapon failed to detonate. The ship was moved to more sheltered waters and then largely abandoned as a bomb disposal team worked through the night to disarm it.
After three attempts to disarm one of the weapons the team used a small explosive charge to try and destroy it in a controlled explosion. Unfortunately this detonated the weapon and in the early hours of May 24th the night was illuminated by an immense explosion as the ship’s hull was torn open. A newspaper journalist nearby photographed the blast and the picture has become one of most enduring images of the war.
On Friday May 6th, Daesh terrorists were spotted unloading rockets and mortar projectiles from a number of small boats and a barge on the Euphrates in Anbar province. A Tornado reconnaissance patrol, armed with Brimstone missiles, was first on the scene and prevented the initial load of weapons from being driven away, hitting the terrorists’ truck with a Brimstone while they were still loading it.
A Paveway-armed flight of Typhoons then arrived and used its bombs to destroy the weapons on the shore, and sink the barge. The same Typhoon flight also attacked a mortar position south-west of Fallujah. A second Tornado flight destroyed two heavy machine-gun positions on the north bank of the Euphrates, downstream from the recently liberated town of Hit.
Tornados on a reconnaissance mission on Friday 29 April used two Brimstone missiles to destroy a T-55 tank and an armed truck despite the efforts by Daesh to conceal both in a palm grove south of Fallujah.
May 2nd 2016
In northern Iraq, Tornados used two Paveways to destroy a Daesh-held building and a nearby weapons store north of Mosul, then flew south to the Qayyarah region where Iraqi forces were engaged in a firefight with a group of terrorists manning a fortified position.
A collection of pictures of a 12,000lb Tallboy bomb on display at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey.
All photos were taken on April 5th 2016
Photos: Tony Wilkins
The Tallboy bomb was an earthquake bomb (an earthquake bomb is dropped from very high altitude to gain sufficient speed to penetrate and then explode deep underground, causing massive caverns or craters as well as generate severe shockwaves to descimate a large area) employed by the RAF during World War II. It was highly effective against hardened targets and its weight meant that it could be dropped from high altitudes with a higher degree of accuracy than smaller bombs. It was designed by the legendary engineer Barnes Wallis famous for developing the bouncing bomb of the Dambuster raids and was used in the later stages of the war.
Sitting on its trolley, the Vauxhall estate car parked behind it gives a good indication of the size of the weapon.
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In the early hours of Saturday morning a pair of RAF Typhoon FGR.4s joined two Tornado GR.4s on a strike over Syria. The Typhoons had barely been at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus for 24 hours before they launched their first mission attacking another of the so-called Islamic State’s oilfields in an effort to financially starve the terrorist group. The RAF has also confirmed that they have flown their first drone missions over Syria.
At present the Royal Air Force have deployed to RAF Akrotiri
10 Tornado GR4 strike aircraft
6 Typhoon FGR.4 multi-role combat aircraft
10 Reaper reconnaissance and attack drones
2 RC-135W Rivet Joint electronic intelligence gathering aircraft operating from the UK