DeAgostini DS018 USAAF Martin Canberra B(I)8 Light Bomber (1:144 Scale)
"In the future, war will be waged essentially against the unarmed populations of the cities and great industrial centers."
- Italian General Giulio Douhet
The English Electric Canberra was a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. It proved to be highly adaptable, serving in such varied roles as tactical bomber, reconnaissance and even weather study. The type remained in service with the Royal Air Force until June 23rd, 2006, 57 years after its first flight.
The Canberra had its origins in 1944 as a replacement for the unarmed high speed, high altitude de Havilland Mosquito bomber. Several British aircraft manufacturers submitted proposals. Among the companies shortlisted to proceed with development studies was English Electric, a well-established industrial manufacturer with very little aircraft experience. A desperate need for bombers arose during the early years of World War II, when English Electric began to build the Hampden under licence.
The new English Electric design team was headed by former Westland chief designer W. E. W. Petter. The aircraft was named Canberra after the capital of Australia by Sir George Nelson, chairman of English Electric, because Australia was the first export customer for the aircraft. In May 1945, a contract was signed, but with the post-war military reductions, the prototype did not fly until May 1949. It was a simple design, looking like a scaled-up Gloster Meteor with a shoulder wing. The fuselage was circular in cross section, tapered at both ends and, cockpit aside, entirely without protrusions; the line of the large, low aspect ratio wings was broken only by the tubular engine nacelles.
Although jet-powered and of all-metal construction, the Canberra design philosophy was very much in the Mosquito mould, i.e. provide room for a substantial bomb load, fit two of the most powerful engines available, and wrap it in the smallest, most aerodynamic package possible. Rather than devote space and weight to defensive armament - which historically could not overcome purpose-designed fighter aircraft - the Canberra was designed to fly fast and high enough to avoid air-to-air combat entirely.
The Canberra was designed for a crew of two, under a fighter-style canopy, but delays in the development of the intended automatic radar bombsight resulted in the addition of a bomb aimer's position in the nose. Wingspan and length were almost identical at just under 20 metres, maximum takeoff weight a little under 25 tonnes. Thrust was provided by a pair of 30 kN axial flow Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets.
Pictured here is a 1:144 scale replica of a USAAF Martin Canberra B(I)8 light bomber.
Wingspan: 5-1/2 inches
Length: 5-3/4 inches
Release Date: December 2012
Historical Account: "Multi-Tasking" - The B(I)8 Canberra (the "I" stands for "Interdictor") lost the one-piece "glasshouse" bubble canopy so "loved" by aircrews and sported instead a fighter type canopy. This was offset from the aircraft's centreline giving the B(I)8 a very distinctive profile shared by the photo-recon variant, the PR-9, (and of course the Sea Vixen).
In June 1972, 16 Sqn (RAF Laarbruch) finally turned-in the last RAF B(I)8 Canberra after a squadron ownership of 14 years. 3 Sqn's B(I)8s (RAF Geilenkirchen) went in January of the same year after flying with the squadron for 11 years. 14 Sqn (RAF Wildenrath) had lost their B(I)8s in June 1970 after 8 years with the Night Intruder.