English Electric Canberra High-Altitude Medium Bomber / Reconnaissance Aircraft
The record-setting English Electra Canberra progressed much as a medium-to-high altitude bomber - so much so that the U.S. ordered it as the B-57.
Authored By Dan Alex; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The English Electric Canberra was a strike-minded, jet-powered medium bomber platform that made up Britain's critical bomber/reconnaissance squadrons of the 1950s and 1960s. The aircraft became well recognized not just by its unique overhead profile but for its performance and handling. It was widely exported to various UK-aligned forces around the world and saw considerable operational service into the 2000s. Largely out of service today (2014), some flyable forms still exist and others make up indoor museum exhibits or outdoor showpieces. The Canberra impressed American officials enough to order it as the locally-produced Martin B-57 (detailed elsewhere on this site).
In the latter war years of World War 2 (1939-1944), the British Air Ministry was already on the lookout for the eventual replacement for its classic, two-man, twin-engined de Havilland "Mosquito". The Mosquito was an outright success - known as the "Wooden Wonder" for its heavy use of wood in its construction - and served in the fast bomber role with distinction since its introduction in 1941. It became a classic British participant of World War 2 and saw production reach 7,781 units from 1940 to 1950. Such was the success of the line that it was further expanded to include dedicated night-fighter, photo-reconnaissance, and maritime strike types in short order. A requirement for a new high-speed bomber was arranged during 1944.