Atlantic Conveyor's Last Voyage
3. Exclusion Zone Helicopter Carrier
Three weeks after sailing, Conveyor rendezvoused with the Carrier Group operating to the east of the Falkland Islands and flew off all her Harriers to the fleet aircraft carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible. The Task Force now had sufficient airpower available to support paratroop and marine landings.
The British amphibious assault began on the night of 21st May with troops going ashore on East Falkland beaches around San Carlos Water.
Atlantic Conveyor had completed her mission as a Harrier ferry, but her flight decks had proved their worth and, rather than being sent off into a safe holding zone, Conveyor was adopted into the heart of the fleet where her heavy-duty helicopters were used to move stores, spare parts and munitions between the ships.
For a few days, the illusion became reality when even the Task Force Commander, Admiral Woodward started referring to Conveyor as Britain's third aircraft carrier.
Mothballed helicopters were brought back to life.
Conveyor was unarmed, had no military grade radar fitted, and no chaff launchers to confuse enemy targeting. Nevertheless, thought was given to the little that could be done to give her some chance of survival, such as planning to turn her end on to any missile threat so as to reduce her radar profile, and the fitting of machine guns on her bridge wings.