How Argentina used Boeing 707s to search for British ships during Falklands

When the UK deployed its task force to the South Atlantic, the Argentine Air Force was ordered to search for the ships — but how to do that without a dedicated long-range maritime patrol aircraft? Santiago Rivas reports

After it set sail on 5 April 1982, it became critical for the Argentineans to know the composition of the British task force and its position. To that end, Grupo de Tareas 17 was established, under the command of the navy. It consisted of the Fuerza Aérea Argentina’s Boeing 707s, which made up Elemento de Tareas (Task Element) 17.1, the state-owned company ELMA’s merchant ship Tierra del Fuego as ET 17.2, and the trawlers Usurbil, María Luisa and María Azul forming ET 17.3. The Tierra del Fuego was assigned to patrol the waters close to Ascension Island, with the trawlers doing so nearer the Falklands/Malvinas. Meanwhile, the 707s were to conduct long-range reconnaissance flights.

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