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Air War Northern Ireland (Hardback)

Britain's Air Arms and the 'Bandit Country' of South Armagh, Operation Banner 1969 - 2007

Aviation Modern Warfare

By Steven Taylor
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Pages: 157
ISBN: 9781526721549
Published: 25th June 2018


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Famously dubbed 'Bandit Country' by a UK government minister in 1975, South Armagh was considered the most dangerous part of Northern Ireland for the British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary during the years of violence known as the 'Troubles' that engulfed the province in the last three decades of the twentieth century.

This was also true for the helicopter crews of the RAF, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps who served there. Throughout the 'Troubles' the Provisional IRA's feared South Armagh brigade waged a relentless campaign against military aircraft operating in the region, where the threat posed by roadside bombs made the security forces highly dependent on helicopters to conduct day-to-day operations.

From pot-shot attacks with Second World War-era rifles in the early days of the conflict to large scale, highly co-ordinated ambushes by PIRA active service units equipped with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and even shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), the threat to British air operations by the late 1980s led to the arming of helicopters operating in the border regions of Northern Ireland.

Drawing on a wide range of sources, including official records and the accounts of aircrew, this book tells the little-known story of the battle for control of the skies over Northern Ireland's 'Bandit Country'.

As featured in

Daily Express 1/7/18

Article: 'Battle for skies of south Armagh' as featured online by

News Letter, 30th June 2018

Article: 'Government feared gun choppers would make NI new Vietnam' as featured by

Sunday Life, 8th July 2018

Article: 'New book looks at helicopters used during NI conflict' as featured by

News Letter, 30th June 2018

Author article SWALLOWS OVER THE PROVINCE as featured by

Fly Past, July 2018

About Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor is a freelance journalist, based in Scotland, writing principally about military history - and in particular military aviation - who has contributed to various UK newspapers, such as the Daily and Sunday Express and Scottish Daily Record, as well as the magazines Aeroplane Monthly, Jets, Britain At War and Military History Monthly. He has also written articles about the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland for the Belfast Newsletter and Belfast Telegraph newspapers.

This is his first book for Pen & Sword.

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