RAF Canberra Units of the Cold War

RAF Canberra Units of the Cold War

Combat Aircraft 105
  • Author: Andrew Brookes
  • Illustrator: Chris Davey
  • Short code: COM 105
  • Publication Date: 20 Jun 2014
  • Number of Pages: 96
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9781782004110
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About this Product

From its first public demonstration at the Farnborough Airshow of 1949, the English Electric Canberra bomber captured the attention of the aviation world. It could outmanoeuvre all the fighters of the time and it could climb way above their operating ceilings. Yet this Cold War equivalent of the Mosquito was simple to maintain and a delight to fly, although it could bite any pilot who did not treat it with respect. The Canberra B 2 first flew on 21 April 1950 and entered frontline service with No 101 Sqn in May 1951. In a testament to the aircraft's benign handling characteristics, the transition programme consisted of only 20 hours in the Gloster Meteor and three hours in the dual-control Canberra trainer. With a maximum speed of 470 knots (871 km/h), a standard service ceiling of 48,000 ft (14,600 m) and the ability to carry a 3.6-tonne (7,900-lb) payload, the Canberra was an instant success.

Biographical Note

Andrew Brookes completed RAF pilot training after reading history at Leeds University. Following reconnaissance and strike tours on Victors, Canberras and Vulcans, during which he logged 3,500 flying hours, he served as a UK nuclear release officer in NATO and was the last operational RAF Commander at the Greenham Common cruise missile base. He was coordinator of airpower studies at the RAF Advanced Staff College and Aerospace specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies from 1999-2009. He is now Director of the Air League in London. He publishes and broadcasts widely, and he received the Defence Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award in 2004 and 2006. He has written fifteen aviation books, including Vulcan Units of the Cold War, Victor Units of the Cold War and Valiant Units of the Cold War for Osprey's Combat Aircraft series. Andrew is a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute.

Contents

Canberra creation
The first Canberras into service - trailblazer for Cold War tactical bombing tactics
The Suez Campaign
Supporting Christmas Island nuclear weapons tests
Canberra Light Bomber Force deployments to Middle and Far East
Canberra involvement in RAF
USAF nuclear strike plans
Canberra versatility - strategic photo and electronic reconnaissance
Overall evaluation
Appendices - Listing all units equipped with the Canberra and where they were based - Comprehensive plate commentaries

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