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English Electric Canberra
by
Barry Jones




PR9 - XH131 - No.39(1 PRU) Sqn., Wyton
Coming in for it's distinctively very slow landing, this beige coloured example looks as good as new, despite its age - PRU = Photo Reconnaissance Unit.


TYPE
two/three seat light bomber, photo-reconnaissance, radar trainer, target tug


MANUFACTURER
English Electric - British Aerospace


ENGINES
two Rolls-Royce Avon 206 turbojets 11,250lb(5,103kg) thrust


DIMENSIONS
  • span : 63'11"(19.5m)
  • length : 65'6"(19.96m)
  • height : 15'7"(4.75m)
  • wing area : 960 sqft(89.2m²)



WEIGHTS

  • empty : 21,679lb(9,842kg)
  • loaded : 55,000lb(24,970kg)



PERFORMANCE

  • max speed at sea level : 518mph(833km/h) - at 30,000' : 580mph(930km/h)
  • ceiling : some big-winged spy variants reach 80,000ft
  • range : 3,790miles(6,098km)



FIRST FLIGHT

  • Mk.1 : 13th May 1949
  • Mk.9 : 8th July 1955



AVIONICS

  • Decca navigation equipment
  • F49/F96 Mk4 Survey camera
  • LORAN air direction finder
  • Omega digital navigation computer
  • Whittaker ALQ-167 Yellow Veil jamming suite
  • Ferranti AIRPASS III Blue Parrot radar



WEAPONS

  • six 1,000lb bombs internally plus two external
  • two packs of 37 2" rockets
  • four 20mm or 30mm cannon



NOTES
Originally the English Electric A1 Canberra was conceived to be strong and simple, and this has resulted in an aircraft which still flies today, having gone through numerous changes along the way. Mks include: B2, PR2, T4, B6, PR7, B(I)8, PR9, E15, B16, T17, TT18 & T19. The Canberra was the RAF's first jet bomber, and has since become its most versatile servant. It reached its 50th birthday in 1999.

UPDATE 1998

Still flying in the photo reconnaissance role (at 70,000 feet!) and will be for several years to come.

UPDATE 1999

The Canberra celebrates 50 years in service by taking part in reconnaissance missions over Kosovo in Operation Eagle Eye

Squadrons using the Canberra:

  • No.39 Squadron, RAF Mareham (5 x PR.9s and 2 x T.4s)


UPDATE 2005

Of the 1,836 Canberras built, the only flying survivors with the RAF number just 7. They are:

XH131 PR9 Accepted March 1959
XH134 PR9 Accepted October 1959
XH135 PR9 Accepted December 1959
XH168 PR9 Accepted April 1960
XH169 PR9 Accepted August 1960
WH849 T4 Accepted May 1954
WJ874 T4 Accepted December 1954


UPDATE 2006

The Canberra makes its last operational flight for RAF on the 23rd June 2006.



B(I)8 - WT346 - RAF Cosford Aerospace Museum
Standing in an impressive line at RAF Cosford, alongside a Victor & a Vulcan, this example shows the unusual offset cockpit, and the bomb aimer's dome.