Single-engine (Rolls-Royce Pegasus turbofan) single-seat British carrier-borne reconnaissance/fighter/attack aircraft with vertical/short takeoff and landing capability.
28.10.81 First flight of ZA175 by John Farley, the second airframe of the second production batch and 26th FRS.1. 07.12.81 Delivered to 899 Naval Air Squadron at 4:18 flown hours. Later transferred to 801 NAS, coded 004. 05.04.82 Departed on HMS Invincible with 801 NAS as part of the Falklands Task Force, Carrier Battle Group; having embarked the previous day. Still coded 004, re-sprayed during the voyage south in the low-vis overall extra dark sea grey scheme. Pilot Lt Cdr Mike Broadwater used ZA175 for his first SHAR night carrier deck landing, c. Ascension Island. An "interesting" flight, despite having flown from HMS Ark Royal, this was Broadwater's first ever night deck landing. 01.05.82 Lt Cdr Robin Kent launched at 0900Z with 3 others on a Combat Air Patrol anticipating Argentine retaliation for the first "Black Buck" Vulcan raid. An uneventful CAP. Lt Mike "Soapy" Watson went on Combat Air Patrol as No.2 to Lt Cdr Nigel "Sharkey" Ward in XZ405/003. Launched at 1515Z, vectored onto 3 Mentors, attacked without success, then onto 2 Mirages. The Mirages attacked with AAMs at extreme range, the missiles falling short. As the SHARs attacked the Mirages fled. Landed at 1635Z. Lt Cdr Mike Broadwater on CAP as No.2 to Lt Alan Curtis in XZ451/006. 5,000' vectored onto 3 Canberras approaching at 200-300' above sea level. Radar contact made at 26 miles distance, within 50 miles of Invincible. At 2047Z Curtis downed the lead Canberra with a Sidewinder AIM-9L. Broadwater fired two AIM9-Ls at the No.3, the first falling short, the second seeming to proximity fuse under the aircraft, which disappeared with No.2 into cloud. Short of fuel forced the SHARs broke off, landing at 2104Z. 07.05.82 Lt Cdr Nigel "Sharkey" Ward on CAP with Lt Brian Haigh as his No.2 in XZ456/008. Launched in heavy fog to intercept a Neptune reconnaissance aircraft and two escorts. Detecting the CAP, the targets veered away. Close teamwork with Invincible's Flyco enabled them to let down to 90' through dense fog and land safely. 10.05.82 Lt Cdr Nigel "Sharkey" Ward on a solo night mission to make the defenders of Goose Green and Fox Bay airstrips believe they were under assault by firing Lepus flares at them. ZA175 chosen as it had the best radar and Navhars [Navigation Heading Attitude Reference System]. Both flares launched on target, despite thick cloud over Fox Bay. A heavy landing was made c. 0400Z in winds of 40-50 knots, after a 550nm trip. 19.05.82 Lt Cdr Nigel "Sharkey" Ward with Flt Lt Ian Mortimer in XZ498/005, Lt Cdr Kent in XZ495/003 and Flt Lt Paul Barton in XZ451/006, an unsuccessful attack on helicopters grouped near Mount Kent. Launched c. 1215Z, bombing at high level through clouds with VT fused 1,000lb bombs. Returned to Invincible c. 1318Z. 21.05.82 Lt Cdr Nigel "Sharkey" Ward's third CAP that day. Launched at 1721Z with his No.2 Lt Steve Thomas in ZA190/009. 1750Z over land west of San Carlos, Ward saw two fast moving delta shapes below about 1 mile away and led the attack. Thomas downed the second Dagger with an AIM9-L as an unseen third Dagger attacked Ward with cannons, missing. Ward saw Thomas down the leader with his second AIM-9L before seeing his attacker. Breaking right and down after it, he acquired it and fired an AIM9-L. C-407 of Grupo 6 De Caza piloted by 1º Teniente Senn, became a ball of flame and hit the ground. All three Dagger pilots ejected safely. Re-gaining their CAP station, Ward saw 3 Skyhawks about to attack the damaged HMS Ardent. Out of range he called in a CAP from 800 NAS on HMS Hermes, Lts Morrell and Leeming downing all 3 A-4s. With no missiles and gunfire damage to his radio, Thomas returned to Invincible. Unaware of Thomas' damaged radio, Ward searched the CAP zone for his No.2 until told Thomas had landed safely. Ward landed with minimal fuel left at 1830Z. 14.06.82 Since 01.05.82 had flown 91 operational sorties with 801 NAS, dropping 16x 1,000lb bombs, 2x Lepus flares and firing 3x AIM9-L Sidewinders, 1 confirmed Dagger kill and 1 damaged Canberra. 28.08.82 Departed the Falklands with Invincible; having provided CAP cover since hostilities ended. 17.09.82 Arrived in Portsmouth on Invincible; disembarked to Yeovilton, transferring to 800 NAS, coded 127. 13.01.84 to 899 Sqn (710) 18.06.84 to St Athan 05.11.84 to NASU Yeovilton 08.11.84 to 800 Sqn 07.10.85 to NASU Yeovilton with Cat 3 damage - recode (714) 13.05.86 to 801 Sqn recode (005 / 003/R) 24.09.86 to NASU Yeovilton 05.03.87 to St Athan for Phase 1 update 01.07.87 to 899 Sqn (711) 12.05.89 to AMG Yeovilton 13.09.89 to 899 Sqn (711) 05.02.91 to 800 Sqn - loan (711) 30.09.91 to AMG Yeovilton 26.11.91 to 899 Sqn (711) 04.12.91 to AMG Yeovilton 10.12.91 to 899 Sqn recode (717 / VL) 10.12.92 - 50th anniversary paint scheme applied 10.11.93 - Birdstrike Chivenor 16.11.93 to AMG Yeovilton by road 28.06.94 to BAe Dunsfold by road for conversion to FA2 standard. Became the 23rd Sea Harrier FRS.1 to be converted to Sea Harrier F/A.2 standard. 13.11.95 - recertified to fly 29.11.95 to St Athan (refinish) 12.02.96 to 800 Sqn (125) 1997 HMS Invincible (with 800 Sqn on board?) to Adriatic - Operation Deliberate Guard - protection for SFOR troops in Bosnia - 85 missions flown from the carrier. By 18.03.98 carried 'nose wording' - 'Not Dave's Jet'. 30.03.98 to AMG Yeovilton 27.08.98 to 800 Sqn (126 / N) Operation Bolton - Deployed on HMS Invincible as part of the Iraq no fly zone enforcement operation in the Gulf 1998 & 1999. 215 sorties flown over Iraq by 800 Sqn. FA2 aircraft provided CAP cover over carrier and fleet while GR7 aircraft carried out interidiction over Iraq. Operation Allied Force - March to June 1999. ZA175 was one of seven FA2 aircraft on board HMS Invincible when it was diverted to the Adriatic on its way home from the Gulf to participate in the campaign leading to the invasion of Kosovo. It is unknown whether it took part in actual combat ops at this time. 11.01.02 to BAe Warton by road 25.06.01 to DARA St Athan by road 11.01.02 to 899 Sqn (717) 04.03.03 to AMG Yeovilton 15.05.03 to 899 Sqn (717)
- Oral history
- Oral history
- Private Papers of Commander N D Ward DSC AFC RN
- INTERVIEW WITH LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER NIGEL "SHARKEY" WARD RN, SLATES 156-161 [Allocated Title]
- INTERVIEW WITH LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER NIGEL "SHARKEY" WARD RN (CONTINUED) , SLATES 162-166 [Allocated Title]
- THE FALKLANDS CONFLICT, APRIL - JUNE 1982