42 years ago two Navy Super Etendards sank HMS Sheffield

Helped to locate the British ship by a Neptune and refueled in flight by a Hercules, the planes attack with Exocet missiles and sink the enemy destroyer in a feat of world military aviation.

4 de May de 2024 16:03

The impact produced by the AM-39 Exocet missiles on the destroyer before sinking.

May 4, 1982, 42 years from this day; two Super Etendard aircraft of the 2nd. Aeronaval Hunting and Attack Squadron of the Argentine Navy , piloted by the then Lieutenant Commander Augusto César Bedacarratz and Frigate Lieutenant Armando Raúl Mayora , being refueled in flight by a Hercules C-130 aircraft of the Air Force , They attack the destroyer with AM-39 Exocet missiles HMS Sheffield , sailing at latitude 52º 48' S, long. 57º 40' W.

The attack on the British 42-class destroyer HMS “Sheffield” was a coordinated action between an SP-2H Neptune scout and the two Super Etendards. They used a tactic never used in the history of military combat aviation: the “scout-attack aircraft” combination, thus inaugurating a chapter in the doctrine of naval air operations.

As a result, the Sheffield was scuttled . This action constitutes a change in the doctrine of air-naval warfare for the entire world.

The English naval force that made up that ship had been located by the Neptune 2-P-112 aircraft of the Naval Air Exploration Squadron , commanded by the then Lieutenant Commander Ernesto Proni Leston .

The Neptune discovered a target that it identified as a type 42 destroyer, by processing its electronic signals and located it in position 52º 33' South Latitude and 57º 40.5' West Longitude; He immediately relayed that information.

 Thus, the deployment of the Super Etendard of the Second Naval Air Hunting and Attack Squadron was ordered, 3-A-202 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Augusto Bedacarratz and 3-A-203 under the command of Frigate Lieutenant Armando Mayora, equipped with Exocet missiles.

During the approach of the Super Etendard to the target, the Neptune maintains the exploration in contact, updating the attack pilots on the position, course and speed of the “Sheffield” until it is detected by the radars of the Argentine attack aircraft.

 From that moment on, the actions happen with vertigo: the radar feeds updated information to the navigation and attack system of the Super Etendard and the pilots launch their Exocet AM-39 missiles that cause the destroyer to sink.

 This missile attack constitutes a milestone in the history and in the tactics and doctrine of modern air-naval warfare in the world. For this reason, and in commemoration of this action, May 4 was established as Naval Aviation Day of the Argentine Navy.

It was the first war action with aerial means of the Argentine Navy, which were victorious against an enemy power and the first British ship sunk by Argentine forces.


The Crew of 2-P-112 was made up of:

Pilot Corvette Captain Ernesto Proni Leston.

Co-pilot Lieutenant Commander Sergio Sepetich.

Navigator Lieutenant of the Frigate Juan Gatti.

OCO Lieutenant Guillermo Meneses.

Radarist Corvette Lieutenant Jose Maria Pernuzzi.

First Non-Commissioned Officer Mechanic Juan Heredia.

Mechanical Assistant Principal Corporal Hugo Saavedra

Radio Cabo Principal Daniel Yerba.

MAE Operator First Non-Commissioned Officer Aníbal Sosa.



Principal Corporal Luis del Negro.

Main corporal Luis Núñez.

Survival First Corporal Cesar Fernández.





By Agenda Malvinas


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