Argentine Air Force
Military units and formations of Argentina in the Falklands War
Argentine Air Force Forum
The Phoenix Squadron was a special unit of the Argentine Air Force formed during the 1982 Falklands War
The Argentine Air Force reconnaissance force at that time was formed around the Grupo 1 Aerofotografico part of the 2nd Air Brigade equipped with two Learjet 35As and based at Parana province of Entre Rios.
In April 1982, the unit was deployed to Comodoro Rivadavia and was reinforced with several civilian planes and their civilian pilots who volunteered to fly them.
During the war, the Learjets performed 52 missions including search and reconnaissance flights, communications retransmission flights, and pathfinder flights to guide combat jets with the Learjets superior navigation systems.
The unit's most difficult missions were 126 sorties in which the Learjets acted as decoys, flying day and night to simulate strike aircraft preparing to attack the fleet. Many believe that most of the Argentine A-4 Skyhawks and Daggers successes were achieved because the British Sea Harriers had been drawn away from the targets :
On one of these flights, on June 7, an Air Force Learjet was shot down over Pebble Island by a surface-to-air Sea Dart missile fired by HMS Exeter, killing the squadron commander, Vice Commodore Rodolfo De La Colina, and the other four members of the crew. De La Colina became the highest ranking Argentine officer to die in the War.
Argentine Air Force Learjet 35 T-24 crew:
Vice Commodore Rodolfo De La Colina (pilot)
Major Juan Falconier (co-pilot)
Captain Marcelo Lotufo (photographer)
Staff Sub-Officer Francisco Luna (mechanic)
Assistant Sub-Officer Guido Marizza (mechanic).
FAA Official Site
Escuadron Fenix (Spanish)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Escuadron Fenix