The English Electric Canberra was a twin engine, British bomber aircraft.
Development started in 1944, with the goal to create a capable replacement for the de Havilland Mosquito. W. E. W. Petter, chief designer of English Electric, proposed an aircraft powered by two Rolls Royce Avon turbojets, located in straight wings of large area. The first flight took place on 13th May 1949, with te
st pilot Ronald Beamont demonstrating the type's fighter like agility, which was due to the low wing loading. The aircraft entered operational status as the B.Mk 2 in 1951.
Thanks to it's docile handling and easy to maintain airframe, the Canberra experienced a relatively trouble free entry into service, and proved to be virtually immune from interception by contemporary RAF fighters during exercises. Increased production, and the introduction of the improved Mk 6, led to 25 squadrons operating the Canberra by early 1954.
Service with other countries
The American Martin B-57 was a under license built derivative of the British Canberra and was used during the Vietnam War; the B-57 remained in operational status until the year 1983.
The Canberra was exported to 15 countries on four continents. All in all over 1300 aircraft have been produced, which weren’t used as a bomber only, but also for reconnaissance missions and for low level flight bombing raids.
Some later models were also modified for high speed target towing duties.
- World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 100 Sheet 1: English Electric Canberra - Introduction