Author Topic: Fairchild FF.260WCu Warrior  (Read 576 times)

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Offline comrade harps

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Fairchild FF.260WCu Warrior
« on: June 07, 2021, 02:28:49 am »


Fairchild FF.260WCu Warrior
#4394 , UM 3710 Regimiento, Cuban Air Force
Luanda, June 1975
Personal mount of Captain Vinícius Júnior



With the swearing-in formalities complete and the “champagne supernova” festivities winding down, President Rúben Dias, with less than three hours on the clock as the first leader of an independent Angola, turned to his generals. They looked worried. Worse still, they were in animated discussion with National Security Advisor André Silver. Dias looked around for his Defence Minister, but the Honorable Simăo Sabrosahe couldn’t be seen. The President gestured to Silver and Army Chief of Staff, General Paulo Sousa, to follow him into a quiet room off the main hall.

“Gentlemen, what’s your first recommendation to your new President?” To Sousa, the President’s up-beat and pompous tone seemed out of place. Sousa had personally given the then President-Elect the gravest of briefings just last night. Surely he knew that all this was pomp and circumstance, the champagne and fireworks, the 21 gun salutes, the ball gowns and the waltzes, the brass band and the chamber orchestra, the speeches from men in tuxedos and the Freedom Fighter flyover were just for show. Surely he knew that it was all about to end.

Silver nodded to the General for him to speak.

“Leave.”

There were a few moments of silence. President Dias looked stunned and taken aback. The General continued. “There’s a Sea Knight on the 18th hole waiting to take you to an American ship. I recommend that you and your family take it. Now.”

All the President could say was “Where’s Sabrosahe?”

Dias couldn’t find his new Defence Minister, Simăo Sabrosahe, because he had already taken General Sousa’s advice and left the gated, razor-wire bordered confines of the Luanda Trump International Resort and Casino Precinct less than an hour after being sworn-in. He and his family had taken two Jetrangers from the Luanda Trump Heliport and were already safely aboard the US Navy’s LHA-2, USS Managua...

Aloft in this Warrior that morning, Captain Vinícius Júnior of the Cuban Air Force could see and hear the drama unfolding. He flew over the thousands of Red and UNITA demonstrators who pushed aside security forces and met in a rioting melee in central Luanda. He heard the crackling radio reports of Angolan government troops withdrawing as their positions were overrun, of mutineers and of units surrendering and changing sides. He identified a convoy of deserters heading for the docks, their trucks loaded with gold and silver stolen from the Angolan Treasury. He avoided a buzzing fleet of private Jetrangers as they picked up well-dressed families and their dogs from rooftops.

Then a familiar voice came on the air. “This is Colonel Alfredo Ribeiro. Cuban Warrior scout, can you give me the quickest route to the Presidential Palace?”. They’d never met, but Capt. Júnior recognised the name and the voice. Col. Ribeiro was a regular on UNITA’s radio stations. Following orders given in the morning briefing, Captain Júnior responded, saying "Consider me your tour guide, Sir."

From the book Leaving Angola: the last days of Portuguese rule and the UN’s failure to prevail, Chapter 3: Champagne supernova by Gabriel Jesus, Săo Paulo Popular Press, 2005



The Italian aeronautical engineer Stelio Frati was clearly talented, but his designs attracted few orders in the depressed post-war Italian economy. Lured to America by the ailing Waco Aircraft Company in 1947, he designed a couple of highly praised but expensive light civilian aircraft whose sales just kept the company afloat. With the outbreak of war in 1950, Waco and Frati shifted from civilian to military designs, starting with the Waco Etude. Powered by a single Continental Model 320 turbojet, the jet trainer prototype first flew in October 1952, but lost out to Cessna’s T-37 for USAF orders and no more were built. Waco shares slumped with the loss to Cessna and the company was acquired by Fairchild, which kept Frati on as a senior designer. His early designs for Fairchild also failed to garner orders, but with the FF.250, first flown in 1963, Fairchild finally believed that they were on to a winner. Submitted to the USAF as a primary trainer, Frati again lost out to a Cessna, the USAF placing orders for hundreds of Cessna 172-based T-41 Mescaleros.



Unlike Waco’s failure to make the Etude a success in similar circumstances, Fairchild and Frati had a business plan for the FF.250 beyond losing to Cessna. A more powerful (260 hp instead of 250 hp), fully aerobatic version of the FF.250 was already under construction, the intention being to market this new plane to export customers seeking trainers and light attack aircraft. A pair of SF.260 Warriors began a tour of UN and neutral nations in 1965, Fairchild offering generous terms including licence assembly and local manufacturing options. In 1967, Iran placed an order for 240 civilian and military FF.260s, the first 50 being built by Fairchild, after which assembly would lead to full domestic manufacturing. Turkey followed with a similar deal for 150 and by 1972 the FF.260 was also being assembled in Cuba and the Philippines. Basic versions included the FF.260M series of trainers, FF.260C civilian general aviation planes, FF.260W Warrior armed trainers and light strike aircraft, FF.260SW Sea warrior littoral patrol and combat aircraft and later the FF.260TP turboprop-powered versions. When Fairchild went the way of Waco in 1999, the rights and type certificates for the FF.260 were sold to Cubana de Aviación (CdA). CdA followed in the footsteps of Waco and Fairchild by tendering the uprated and updated FF.260E to the USAF competition to replace the T-41, but again failed to achieve a contract.



CdA began assembling FF.260s in 1968, leading to full local manufacturing from 1974. Producing civilian and military versions for both domestic and export customers, the CdA’s FF.260s would see service with clients across Latin America and Africa. Military customers included the armed forces of  Burkina Faso, Bolivia, Chad, Columbia, Comoros, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, North Yemen, Panama, Somalia, South Yemen, Sudan, Uganda, Uruguay and Zambia. The Cuban Air Force used FF.260MCu trainers and FF.260WCu combatants, the Cuban Army fielded the FF.260MCu as a liaison machine and the Cuban Navy acquired FF.260MCu trainers and the FF.260SWCu for coastal and fisheries patrol.



In 1970, Cuba and Brazil led a major UN-mandated intervention into Angola, where the exiled government of the Portuguese Empire was failing to maintain control against growing pro-independence insurgencies. However, the Angolan Stabilisation Force often acted contrary to their official task of propping up the Portuguese position in Angola. Officially, they were there to support the Portuguese Empire, but the Cuban and Brazillian governments sided with the UNITA rebels that were one of several insurgencies vying for power in the inevitable post-independence Angola. Among the main guerrilla forces were the Marxist MPLA, which was supported by the post-Aparthied government of Anzania (South Africa), and the ethnic-based, separatist FLNA which was backed by Zaire and the US. The Brazilians and Cubans conspired to hand the reins of Angolan governance to UNITA as the Portuguese Empire collapsed, but the security situation did not improve. In 1980, with UN combat forces withdrawn, UNITA succumbed to a final series of MPLA offensives.



The FF.260WCu Warrior-equipped UM 3710 Regimiento of the Cuban Air Force arrived in Angola in April 1970. Their counter-insurgency missions included armed convoy and helicopter escort, photographic or armed visual reconnaissance, close air support, light strike, radio relay, artillery spotting and airborne forward air control. Armed with 7.62mm machine gun or minigun pods, anti-personnel or target marking rockets or carrying flares, photo or infrared linescan recce pods or the canopy sill mounted AN/AVQ-9 Zot Box laser designator, the Cuban Warriors of UM 3710 Regimiento were active throughout Angola until the Cuban (and UN) withdrawal in November 1979. They were simple and cheap to maintain, easy to fly, could be deployed to remote airstrips with minimal support and were accurate attack platforms with good range and endurance. Though the Cuban Air Force re-equipped a squadron of Warriors operating in Mozambique with the FMA IA 58A Pucará in 1978, many of Cuba’s first-generation FF.260s were upgraded to or replaced by aircraft in the second generation FF.260TP series during the 1980s and 90s.



This FF.260WCu of the Cuban Air Force’s UM 3710 Regimiento is depicted as photographed at Luanda in June 1975. In the space of less than a week, Captain Vinícius Júnior flew and fought in this aircraft during the Battle of Quifangondo, the handover from the Portuguese Empire to the independent government of President Rúben Dias, the collapse of the Dias regime and the triumphant entry of UNITA forces into Luanda. A notable feature detailed in several photographs of this plane at that time was the lack of its landing gear covers. Capt. Júnior had been flying this plane from small airstrips “up-country” before being ordered back to Luanda for the independence ceremonies. Interviewed by historian Gabriel Jesus for his book Leaving Angola, Cpt. Júnior noted that they had been removed to save weight and to ease access during maintenance; this was a common practice on Cuban Warriors in Angola. Routinely flying morning and an afternoon mission, Capt. Júnior flew armed scouting and forward air control sorties over Luanda and its surroundings during the Portuguese Empire’s withdrawal and UNITA’s succession to power, including target marking sorties during the Battle of Quifangondo and the Battle of Luanda. His aircraft was armed with two Avibras LM-37/7 rocket launchers, each carrying seven 70mm SBAT-37 rockets. 



During the Quifangondo battle, UNITA, Cuban and Brazillian forces combined to defeat an attempted advance on Luanda by the National Liberation Army of Angola (ELNA), the armed wing of the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA). The FLNA was making a desperate attempt to occupy Luanda before the 6th of June when the Portuguese Empire was to officially withdraw from Angola. UNITA troops had occupied Quifangondo since the 2nd of June as it too approached Luanda. Although F-5A fighters and A-37B bombers of the Zairan Air force had attacked UNITA positions ahead of ELNA's assault, their accuracy was poor and they did not return to provide air defence or close air support. UNITA, though, had both on tap, as the Warriors of UM 3710 Regimiento maintained a presence over the battlefield throughout the fighting. Scouting, spotting for artillery and marking targets for Cuban EMB-326Ks and Brazillian (EMBRAER-built) F-104G Starfighters, the Warrior crews directed fire onto the ELNA troops with devastating accuracy. Forced to retreat from Quifangondo, ELNA was substantially defeated on that day and four months later its leaders fled to Zaire, its base territories having been secured by UNITA and its UN backers.



Capt. Júnior told Gabriel Jesus that he knew it was over for the Dias Government when he saw the Bell “Jetrangers parked in the Trump Precinct taking off and heading offshore throughout the morning of the inauguration.”


« Last Edit: June 07, 2021, 06:23:32 am by comrade harps »
Whatever.

Online rickshaw

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Re: Fairchild FF.260WCu Warrior
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2021, 06:07:53 am »
Interesting :thumbsup:
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Offline NARSES2

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Re: Fairchild FF.260WCu Warrior
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2021, 06:13:27 am »
Decals my @r$e!

Offline nighthunter

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Re: Fairchild FF.260WCu Warrior
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2021, 09:49:46 am »
I'm betting the scale is 1/72, but I've never seen a Warrior kit
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Offline comrade harps

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Re: Fairchild FF.260WCu Warrior
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2021, 07:09:52 am »
I'm betting the scale is 1/72, but I've never seen a Warrior kit

One of these:
"SIAI SF-260W "Over Africa", Kovozávody Prostějov KPM0210 (2020)" https://www.scalemates.com/kits/kovozavody-prost-jov-kpm0210-siai-sf-260w-over-africa--1306252
Whatever.