HMS Sheffield (D80)

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The second ship to bear the name in the Royal Navy, HMS Sheffield (D80) was a Type 42-class destroyer, sunk by Argentina in the 1982 Falklands War. While she was not the first ship sunk by a cruise missile, she was the first warship that was alert to the threat and had electronic countermeasures, although not a close-in anti-cruise missile defense system.

Commissioned in 1975, she was armed with the Sea Dart area surface-to-air missile system. Neither the missile, nor the due-to-be-replaced Type 965 radar, were designed against sea-skimming threats, but against high-flying aircraft.

At the Falklands, under the command of Captain Sam Salt, she was operating as a radar picket on the outer defense perimeter of the British task force. Some radar had been shut down because it interfered with satellite communications in progress. Perhaps more importantly, the task force had no airborne early warning, so the radar horizon was limited to mast height.

20 sailors were killed by the missile hit and resulting fire. The first major British loss of the war, she was scuttled due to concern by Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward that she would draw Argentineans to the rescue forces.