Argentine Third Escuadrilla Tábanos

Argentine Navy Third Escuadrilla Tábano

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Argentine Skyhawk Naval Aviators KIA

Sailor playing TAPS
1982 - Malvinas

Teniente de Fragata Márquez, A-4Q 21 MAY 82
Teniente de Fragata Zubizarreta, A-4Q 21 MAY 82


Third Escuadrilla Tábanos patches from Tango."


David Weber

Rico Angerman

Capitan Alejandro Amoros, Argentine Air Force.

Valter Sousa Andrade.

Juan Manuel Baiutti.

Jose Gonzales.

Maximiliano Guillen.

Gervasio Vazquez.




01 MAR 1971: the Third Navy Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque was established at Aeronaval Comandante Espora Provincia de Buenos Aires.

DEC 1986: the Third Navy Escuadrilla was disestablished.

Home Ports

01 MAR 1971: Base Aeronaval Comandante Espora Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

APR 1988: Navy Río Grande Base in Tierra del Fuego State, Argentina.

Air Wings

25 de Mayo


Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:

MAR 1971, Argentina purchased 16 surplus A-4Bs (designated A-4Q) for use by the Argentine Navy.

Original Argentine serial numbering of 0654 to 0669 with side numbering of 3-A-3xx:

301 = 144872 Ground Instructional airframe at Technical School, La Matanza, Buenos Aires.

302 = 144882: on display in Argentina as 3-A-302. Retired APR88, made last A-4Q flight. Ground Instructional Airframe at BAN Bahia Blanca.

303 = 144895: believed lost prior to 1982 War. w/o 09AUG81

304 = 144915: on display in Argentina as 3-A-304. Preserved CANA HQ Edifcio Libertad, Buenos Aires.

305 = 144929 1990 photo of 144929 on display somewhere.w/o 22MAY86.

306 = 144963: believed lost after the 1982 War, possibly on 11 NOV 1982.

307 = 144983: Lost to AIM-9L from Sea Harrier XZ457 21 MAY 1982 in the war, Capitan de Corbeta Philippi was recovered.

308 = 144988: on display in Argentina as 3-A-314. Preserved by Flying Club Batan .

309 = 144989 Preserved BAN Bahia Blanca. Sold to US N82079 to James Ritchie 02SEP98.

310 = 145001: believed lost prior to 1982 War. w/o 29SEP75.

311 = 145004: believed lost prior to 1982 War. w/o 16AUG77.

312 = 145010: Lost 21 MAY 1982 in the War to own AAA, Teniente de Navio Jose Cesar Arca was recovered.

313 = 145025: believed lost prior to 1982 War. w/o 13MAR75.

314 = 145050: Lost 21 MAY 1982 in the War, Teniente De Fragata Marquez KIA. Lost cannon of XZ500 Harrier

315 = 145053: believed lost prior to 1982 War. w/o 25JUN73.

316 = 145061: believed lost prior to 1982 War. w/o 16JAN73.(Last A-4B built)


144932 Parts only

145017 parts only


From Horatio J. Clari, side numbers:

0654     3-A-201 / 3-A-301     144872     1972     1990
0655     3-A-202 / 3-A-302     144882     1972     1988
0656     3-A-203 / 3-A-303     144895     1972     1982
0657     3-A-204 / 3-A-304     144915     1972     1988
0658     3-A-205 / 3-A-305     144929     1972     1987
0659     3-A-206 / 3-A-306     144963     1972     1982
0660     3-A-207 / 3-A-307     144983     1972     1983
0661     3-A-208 / 3-A-308     144988     1972     1985
0662     3-A-209 / 3-A-309     144989     1972     1988
0663     3-A-210     145001     1972     1976
0664     3-A-211 / 3-A-311     145004     1972     1977
0665     3-A-212 / 3-A-312     145010     1972     1983
0666     3-A-213 / 3-A-313     145025     1972     1977
0667     3-A-214 / 3-A-314     145050     1972     1983
0668     3-A-215     145053     1972     1974
0669     3-A-216     145061     1972     1973
0743     3-A-317     144933     1975     1982
0744     3-A-318     145035     1975     1982


02APR82 to 05MAY82: Aircraft Carrier 25 de Mayo - A-4Q - Malvinas (Falkland Is.)

Rio Grande - The Malvinas War

Commanding Officers

1971: Capitán de Fragata Sergio Trenchi
    1972: Capitán de Corbeta Eduardo Invierno
    1973: Capitán de Corbeta Horacio Estrada
    1974: Capitán de Corbeta Camilo Nabías
    1975: Capitán de Corbeta Jorge Troitiño
    1976: Capitán de Corbeta Jorge Czar
    1977: Capitán de Corbeta Eduardo Alimonda
    1978: Capitán de Corbeta Julio Lavezzo
    1979: Capitán de Corbeta Julio Lavezzo
    1980: Capitán de Corbeta Jorge Colombo
    1981: Capitán de Corbeta Alberto Philippi
    1982: Capitán de Corbeta Rodolfo Castro Fox
    1983: Capitán de Corbeta Alberto Philippi
    1984: Capitán de Corbeta Roberto Agotegaray
    1985: Capitán de Corbeta Roberto Agotegaray
    1986: Capitán de Corbeta Alejandro Francisco
    1987: Capitán de Corbeta Luis Collavino


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1971: Sixteen A-4Q Skyhawks were purchased for the Argentine Navy for use on its aircraft carrier the "25 de Mayo". The A-4Q Skyhawks were rebuilt United States Navy and Marine A-4B Skyhawks.   Third Escuadrilla Skyhawks were painted sea gray and initially based at Comandante Espora, Argentina.

01 MAR 1971: The Argentine Navy Third Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque was established.   The Third Escuadrilla was based at Aeronaval Comandante Espora Provincia de Buenos Aires (Navy Base Commander Espora, state of Buenos Aires). The Third Escuadrilla was equipped with sixteen A-4Q / A-4B Skyhawks with additional equipment including Omega-VLF navigational systems.

Color scheme and markings courtesy of "FCM Decals," a Brazilian decal manufacturer. Graphic from Valter Sousa Andrade.

March 27, 1982: The Third Escuadrilla had eight operational Skyhawks.

28 MAR 1982: Six Argentine Navy A-4Qs were loaded on Argentina's Aircraft Carrier "25 de Mayo" for a naval exercise announced for the last fifteen days of March.   This exercise was a cover for the "Blue Operation," which was the April 2, 1982 invasion of the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands).

02 APR 1982 - 14 JUN 1982 Malvinas (Falkland) War : The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean located aproximately 300 miles east of the coast of Argentina. They are a territory of the United Kingdom, but are claimed by Argentina. In South America the islands are known as the "Islas Malvinas".

Argentina Malvinas War Aviation Events.

Argentine Third Escuadrilla pilots. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

Third Escuadrilla Pilots at Rio Grande May 20, 1982 (Rank is that of December 1998).
Standing left to right:

Teniente de Fragata Márquez --- KIA,

Capitan de Corbeta Carlos A. Lecour,

Capitan de Fragata Carlos S. Oliveira,

Teniente de Fragata Zubizarreta --- KIA,

Capitan de Corbeta Philippi,

Commanding Officer Capitan de Navio Rodolfo Castro Fox,

Capitan de Navio Benito I. Rótolo,

Capitan de Fragata Marcos A. Benítez.

Front row left to right:

Capitan de Corbeta Félix Médici,

Capitan de Fragata Roberto G. Silvestre,

Capitan de Fragata José César Arca,

Capitan de Fragata Alejandro D. Olmedo.

Ten of the twelve Third Escuadrilla pilots pictured survived the war.
During 21 MAY through 14 JUL 1982, the Third Escuadrilla at Río Grande (radio call sign "Tábanos") flew ten combat missions during the high point of the hostilities, losing 3 planes and 2 Naval Aviators.   The detachment was hampered by shortages of personal, parts and planes.


1983: The United States imposed an aircraft sale embargo on Argentina.

1986: The Third Escuadrilla was deactivated although there were still six A-4Q Skyhawks in service.

APR 1988: Last flight of an Argentine A-4Q Skyhawk.

Unit Photos

APR 1972:Douglas Skyhawk A4-Q 3-A-211/0664, BuNo 145004. Maybe I did this picture in April/1972. The picture was done at Base Aeronaval Comandante Espora in the parking area's concrete facing the Third Squadron´s hangar. In the back is an exhaust gas deflecter used when the first jet plane Grumman F9F-2 Panther was in active service in our Naval Aviation. Adolfo Jorge Soto.

APR 1972:Douglas A4-Q Skyhawk 3-A-213/0666, BuNo145025. I did this picture at Base Aeronaval Comandante Espora, maybe in April,1972 after the Douglas A4-Q Skyhawks had arrived from USA. This plane were parking just facing the Third Attack Squadron´s hangar. Adolfo Jorge Soto.

APR 1972: BuNo 145050, side no. 3-A-214, serial 0667; BuNo 144988, 3-A-208; BuNo 145010, 3-A-212; and BuNo144983, 3-A-207. The picture was done at Base Aeronaval Comandante Espora maybe in April, 1972.The four planes were parking just facing the Third Attack Squadron´s hangar. Adolfo Jorge Soto.

APR 1972:The planes were just arrived from USA. There are six planes on parking area´s concrete next to Third Squadron´s hangar. BuNo 145001, 3-A-210; BuNo 145010, 3-A-212; BuNo 144988, 3-A-208; and 3-A-2xx; BuNo 144963, 3-A-206; 3-A-2xx. Adolfo Jorge Soto.

The "25 de Mayo" is shown underway, in 1985, with four A-4Q Skyhawks and four French Super Etendards lashed to the deck. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.
aircraft carrier image
The 25 de Mayo was originally the British light fleet carrier Venerable. The Dutch bought the Venerable from the United Kingdom in 1948, renaming it the Karel Doorman. Argentina bought the Venerable - Karel Doorman from the Netherlands in October 1968. Tom Schoene.

1978: A-4Q Skyhawks 3-A-314 and 3-A-301. Two, Third Escuadrilla Argentine Navy A4-Q Skyhawks are pictured on the deck of the Aircraft Carrier "25 de Mayo". A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-314 and A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-301 are being manned for flight. Photograph provided by Gervasio Vazquez.

A-4Q Skyhawks 3-A-301 and 3-A-309 parked on the bow of the Carrier 25 de Mayo. Photo from Maximiliano Guillen.

Third Escuadrilla Skyhawk 3-A-305 - 1981. A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-305 launching from the 25 de Mayo. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

A-4Q trapping aboard the 25 de Mayo. Adolfo Jorge Soto.

3-A-308, pulls out the wire trapping aboard 25 de Mayo. Photo provided by Maximiliano Guillen.

1981: Third Escuadrilla Skyhawk 3-A-301. 3-A-301 Skyhawk on the Argentine Navy base Comandante Espora ramp loaded with eleven 500 pound Mark 82 bombs. Teniente de Fragata Carlos S. Oliveira gets ready to get this brick into the air. Note the squadron leader logo just under the cockpit. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

DEC 1981: Third Escuadrilla Skyhawk Formation. Eight, Third Escuadrilla A-4Q Skyhawks demonstrate a right echelon.   Top to bottom - - - 3-A-301, 3-A-303, 3-A-304, 3-A-305, 3-A-307, 3-A-302, 3-A-314, and 3-A-309.   Third Escuadrilla A-4Q Skyhawks 3-A-307, 3-A-312 and 3-A-314 were lost in the Malvinas war. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

01MAY82: Third Escuadrilla Pilots Ready For Malvinas Mission. Argentine Third Escuadrilla pilots on board 25 de Mayo ready A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-305 to attack British shipping. Pilots, left to right, are Capitan de Corbeta Philippi and Capitan de Corbeta Castro Fox. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

MAY82: Third Escuadrilla Skyhawk 3-A-306. A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-306 is being attached to the 25 de Mayo catapult. Note: the 25 de Mayo has only one (port) catapult. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

Jan 1984: Argentine Armada Skyhawks BuNo 144988, 3-A-308, and BuNo 144915, 3-A-304, parked on the ramp. Jeff Ethel.

JAN 1984:Argentine Armada Skyhawks BuNo 144988, 3-A-308, and BuNo 144963, 3-A-306, parked on the flightline. Jeff Ethe.

09MAY85: A-4Q Skyhawks 3-A-301 and 3-A-309. Carlos Lecour is the Third Escuadrilla pilot in the cockpit of A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-301.   A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-309 is starting in the background. The Third Escuadrilla was deactivated in December 1986. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

29JUN85: Argentine Armada Skyhawk BuNo 144882, 3-A-302, parked on the flightline. Jorge-Nunez_Padin.

23 DEC 1986: Argentine Armada Skyhawk BuNo 144989, 3-A-309, parked on the ramp. Jorge-Nunez-Padin.

DEC86: A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-304. The Third Naval Escuadrilla flight-line at Comandante Espora Navy Base when the Third Escuadrilla was officially deactivated.   Two French Super Etendards can be seen to the right. These aircraft were transfered to the Argentine Air Force Second Escuadrilla . Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

Circa 1987: A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-302 - about 1987. While flying with the Argentine Air Force some Navy A-4Q Skyhawks such as 3-A-302 were painted in the A-4B Air Force brown and green colors - it may be that the green paint has not yet been applied to this A-4Q on the wash rack. Photograph provided by Jose Gonzales.

Circa 1989: BuNo 142109 on the ramp.

1989: BuNo 142109 on the ramp.

Circa 1989: BuNo 142109 on the ramp.

1989: BuNo 142752 A-P on the ramp.

1989: Pic1 Pic2 Unknown A-4P on the ramp.

Replica of A-4Q Skyhawk 3-A-312 - 2000. This is an Argentine Navy A-4Q ( BuNo. unknown ) that is a replica of 3-A-312 that was shot down by a Harrier after sinking a T-21 type frigate in the strait of San Carlos on May 21, 1982. The pilot, Lieutenant José César Arca ejected into Puerto Argentino. Photograph provided by Juan Manuel Baiutti.

Remains of Argentine Armada Skyhawk BuNo 144895, 3-A-303, in the boneyard. Jorge-Nunez_Padin.

Argentine Armada Skyhawk BuNo 144988 on display at the Mar del Plata Flying Club in Batan, Argentina as BuNo 145050, 3-A-314. M.W. Miranda.

28 MAY 2007: Douglas Skyhawk A4-Q BuNo 144882 during Naval Aviation Day Ceremony and 25th Anniversary of Malvinas´ War. Adolfo Jorge Soto.

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