MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, July 22nd 2024 - 17:14 UTC



Argentine airplane from 1982 to be restored and shown at museum?

Sunday, December 24th 2023 - 16:09 UTC
Full article 3 comments
The emblematic unit was traded in 2005 in exchange for spare parts for Sea King helicopters to be deployed in the Antarctic campaign The emblematic unit was traded in 2005 in exchange for spare parts for Sea King helicopters to be deployed in the Antarctic campaign

The Italian-built Aermacchi MB-339 used by then-Argentine Navy Lt Owen Crippa on May 21, 1982, to attack the HMS Argonaut is about to be flown from the United States to be restored in the city of Sunchales and later displayed at a museum, it was reported last week.

Friends of Crippa's said that the aircraft was on her way to Atlanta, Georgia, after being rescued from a scrapyard. The airplane is said to be the only of its kind to have participated in air-naval combat and returned safely.

During a reconnaissance mission, Crippa dived toward the British fleet and attacked the Argonaut, after which he reported the presence of enemy sea units in San Carlos which was by then unknown. Crippa's spotting triggered a series of ensuing air attacks that resulted in the sinking of the HMS Antelope and HMS Coventry. For that feat, Crippa was granted a “Cross of Heroic Valor in Combat,” the country's highest military award. On June 26, 1982, the Argonaut sailed back under her own steam to Devonport Dockyard to have her battle damage repaired.

“In 2005, when I was invited to the Punta Indio Base for the promotion of naval aviators who had graduated that year, the news was communicated to me,” said Crippa about the moment he was told that his airplane had been sold to a businessman from the United States. It was “a very hard blow,” he went on. “I thought the plane would be sent to the Naval Aviation Museum; but no,” he told La Nación in March last year.

“The Argentine Navy did not have a budget to purchase spare parts for the Sea King helicopters that had to carry out the annual Antarctic campaign. So it was decided to carry out the sale of three Aermacchi model 339 out of service in exchange for the necessary spare parts,” he also explained.

The Aermacchi MB-339 is a military jet trainer and light attack aircraft developed during the 1970s. In addition to its combat capacities, it is also flown by the Italian Air Force's Frecce Tricolori aerobatic display team. In addition to the 1982 Falklands War, it also saw combat with the Eritrean Air Force during the Eritrean–Ethiopian War of 1998–2000.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • darragh

    Don't know who wrote this article but Crippa's sortie had nothing to do with the sinking of HMS Antelope and HMS Coventry so what he got the gong for I've no idea.

    Dec 24th, 2023 - 04:28 pm 0
  • imoyaro

    Just propaganda...

    Dec 24th, 2023 - 04:39 pm 0
  • Pugol-H

    Surviving probably, no one else to give a gong to.

    Dec 24th, 2023 - 05:41 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!