Footage from the Smithsonian Channel on YouTube shows two British Pilots in a tense air-to-air battle against four Argentinian Skyhawk pilots during the Falklands War. There are interviews with one of the pilots, and he describes exactly what it was like for them to conduct high speed aerial combat against other jet pilots while they protected their own burning ships. The footage contained in this video is absolutely incredible.
2 April, 1982. Argentina claims the South Georgia Island and launches an amphibious assault on the Falkland Islands. This is a direct attack against Britain, who own the islands as overseas territories. It was the beginning of a ten week conflict in the South Atlantic ocean between the countries of Argentina and Great Britain. In response, Great Britain mobilized a portion of their Navy and launched a counter-attack to reclaim the islands. In the 10 weeks that the conflict went on, neither country officially declared war, however both would recognize the area officially as a war zone for the duration of the conflict.
After ten weeks, Great Britain came out on top with a decisive victory, and Argentina would surrender. In total, the country of Argentina lost 649 soldiers KIA, 1,657 soldiers WIA, and had 11,313 soldiers taken as prisoners of war. On top of this, they also lost a sizable number of ships and aircraft to the far superior British military. The British however, would not come out of the war completely unscathed. They too lost 255 soldiers KIA, 755 WIA, and had 115 taken as prisoners of war. They would also lose a number of ships and aircraft in the fighting as well. There losses in the air however, were 1 to 3 when put next to the Argentinian pilots, who flew far weaker aircraft with pilots who were not nearly as well trained.
The Smithsonian has since released footage of one of the aerial battles that took place during this ten week conflict. In conjunction with this, they have also interviewed one of the pilots who was present, and actively flew combat missions against Argentinian ground forces and pilots. There has not been a lot of dog fighting between fighter jets in since World War Two. In fact, most jets maneuver so fast now, that it is almost impossible for them to get in direct air-to-air engagements where they would actually see the other aircraft. Instead, they rely on their equipment and armament’s advanced technology to fight their enemies outside of visual range in the air.
In the footage below, two British Harriers engage four Argentinian Skyhawks in an air-to-air dog fight to the death. The two Harriers successfully knock down three of the four Skyhawks in a matter of seconds, forcing the final Skyhawk to concede the battle before his side is even able to attempt a missile lock. This air-to-air fight took place while two British ships in the sea below were burning from previous attacks by the pilots. The Harriers were on station to support them as the damage control teams aboard the ships worked to conduct emergency maintenance and repair to keep the ships floating.
Listening to the pilot is a trip. He sounds like this was just another Monday afternoon to him.