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Operation Bravo, 1982

Operation BravoOn 3 October 1982, Operation Bravo was flown. This was a Canberra PR (Photo Reconnaissance) sortie over Virei — a direct result of intelligence inputs to the build-up of forces in the area. Virei was being developed as an advanced radar and possible missile base. The Canberra, with two F1CZ Mirages as escort, carried out a low-level penetration before climbing to Flight Level 240 for the photo run. On the egress from Vimei a pass was made over Cahama to update our photography.

As the Canberra formation broke Angolan radar cover another pair of F1Czs, acting as a spoof raid, popped above the radar horizon to confuse the Angolan radar controllers. Two F1AZs were on SAR (Search And Rescue) standby at Ondangwa; two armed Impalas were positioned at Ruacana along with four Pumas with Parabats for SAR; one EW (Electronic Warfare) equipped DC-3 Dakota flew from Grootfontein to monitor enemy radar– and radio transmissions during the operation; and one Impala flying at high level from Ondangwa operated as a Telstar radio link. All of these activities must have excited the Angolan air defence authorities who brought their forces to a high state of readiness. This was to have bearing on the operations which took place a few days later.

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