English Electric Canberra

The RAF retired its last three English Electric Canberras on 28 July 2006 after more than 55 years’ service. No wonder the Canberra is regarded as one of the most successful of all Britain’s military aircraft.
Designed by E.W. Petter, the Canberra was the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) first jet bomber. In concept it resembled the famous World
War II Mosquito, for it was expected to survive by its speed alone and had no defensive armament. Like the Mosquito, it also had a streamlined shape, lightweight construction, and two powerful engines.
When it entered service with the RAF in 1951, the Canberra was deployed as a strategic bomber. It clocked several notable “firsts”
during the 1950s, including the first non-stop transatlantic flight by a jet and the first flight at an altitude of over 70,000ft. The Canberra served with US air forces as the Martin B-57 and was also sold to many other countries around the world.
Its combination of speed and altitude made it an excellent photo-reconnaissance platform. It was extensively used as a “spyplane”. overflying the Soviet Union and various other communist states in the 1950s and 60s.
In its role as a bomber, it was used by the RAF to raid Egyptian airfields during the 1956 Suez Crisis and by the Americans and
Australians during the Vietnam War.

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