The North Atlantic D+11 (20 July, 1987) Part III

It had taken longer than expected but on D+11 SACLANT secured HMS Illustrious and her escorts for operations in the Norwegian Sea and Barents. After the loss of Invincible, the British government became extremely reluctant to risk another Royal Navy aircraft carrier. Morale in Great Britain had taken a hit when news of Vince‚Äôs sinking …

The North Atlantic D+4 (13 July, 1987) Part I

D+4 began on a somber note for SACLANT. Word reached Norfolk at 0040 hours that HMS Invincible had sunk in the North Sea. The damaged baby carrier had been moving on her own power towards Scotland when she suffered a massive explosion, began taking on water, and rapidly developed a severe list to port. At …

The North Atlantic D+3 (12 July, 1987) Part I

At 0556 EDT an ASM-135 Anti-Satellite missile launched from a US Air Force F-15A Eagle destroyed a Soviet Radar Ocean Reconnaissance Satellite (RORSAT) in low-earth orbit over the Labrador coast. The successful intercept would create a twelve hour hole in Soviet satellite coverage over the North Atlantic. The mission had been timed, planned, and undertaken …

The North Atlantic D+1 (10 July, 1987) Part I

Through thirty-eight years of multinational naval exercises from the Barents Sea to the Bahamas,  naval conferences, and spending innumerable hours at sea, NATO naval officers had developed a staunch respect for the significance of the Atlantic Ocean to alliance plans. Senior officers especially recognized it as the linchpin of the alliance in a time of …