When the Task Force set out on its 8000 mile journey south to retake the Falkland Islands in April 1982, it not only faced enormous logistical challenges but it was totally reliant on carrier and shipborne aviation, unlike the Argentinians who possessed an efficient land-based air force of over 200 aircraft. The Task Force also lacked Airborne Early Warning aircraft and its Sea Harriers were outnumbered by six to one.
Despite these awesome odds, the Fleet Air Arm played a pivotal role winning the crucial battle for air superiority and so contributing greatly to the successful outcome of the campaign.
In total, 171 naval aircraft from 15 Naval Air Squadrons were deployed. The 26 Sea Harriers from HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible inflicted serious losses on the Argentine Air Force destroying 23 aircraft in air to air engagements, for the loss of not a single Sea Harrier in air combat. The embarked fixed wing force also included for the first time, RAF Harrier GR3s in the ground attack role.