Air power during the 1982 Falklands conflict

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The 1982 Falklands Conflict between the United Kingdom and Argentina has generated significant debate regarding its utility and lessons. Indeed, some analysts would infer that this Cold War sideshow offers little insight into lessons for the future operating environment. Consequently, many of the Conflict’s established positions are contested and appear to be beyond reproach. Yet, there are a number of the Conflict’s narratives that are often directly competing against each other. For example, one perspective suggested that the Argentine air arms contained skilled, heroic individuals that relentlessly pressed home their attacks against the British. In contrast, there is a counter-narrative that informed that the Sea Harrier force was utterly dominant over its Argentine nemesis. In an attempt to articulate the veracity of the various narratives, this thesis re-evaluates the use of air power during the Conflict by using recently released primary source material. Moreover, the thesis views the campaign through the contemporary lens of the operational level of warfare and analyses the elements that each participant was endeavouring to defend and attack in order to achieve campaign success. By developing a view of what should have occurred and comparing it with a view of what actually happened, the subsequent analysis and deductions break many of the enduring myths generated by the Conflict. As a result, this thesis will demonstrate that the Conflict has continued relevance today and in the future.
Date of Award1 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorDavid Jordan (Supervisor) & Christina Goulter (Supervisor)

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