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The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 ft (21,430m) in 1957. Due to its ability to evade early interceptors and providing a significant performance advancement over piston-engined bombers then common, the Canberra was a popular export product and served in many nations.

In addition to being a tactical nuclear strike aircraft; the Canberra proved to be highly adaptable, serving in such varied roles for tactical bombing, photographic, electronic, and reconnaissance in conventional warfare. Canberras served in the Vietnam War, the Falklands War, the Indo-Pakistani Wars, and numerous African conflicts. In several wars, both of the opposing forces had Canberras in their air forces. The Canberra was retired by its first operator, the Royal Air Force, in 23 June 2006, 57 years after its first flight; a few remain in service, performing meteorological work for NASA.

Development

Background

The Canberra had its origins in a 1944 Air Ministry requirement for a successor to the de Havilland Mosquito: a high-altitude, high-speed bomber with no defensive armament. 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, though when a desperate need for bombers had arisen during the early years of the Second World War, English Electric had begun to build the Handley-Page Hampden under license.

In 1944 Westland Aircraft's technical director and chief designer W. E. W. Petter prepared a design study for a twin-engined fighter bomber, the P.1056, based on two fuselage mounted Metrovick F.2/4 "Beryl" engines. The authorities doubted its suitability for operations from unprepared fields and at low altitude but could see its potential as a bomber design; numerous manufacturers refused to take on the design. Petter left Westland to join the English Electric company in December 1944, where he was encouraged to develop his design, EE formed its own in-house aircraft design team in the following year.

The aircraft was named ''Canberra'' after the capital of Australia by Sir George Nelson, chairman of English Electric, as Australia was the first export customer for the aircraft. The Canberra had 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, the Canberra design philosophy was very much in the Mosquito mould, providing room for a substantial bomb load, fitting two of the most powerful engines available, and wrapping 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.

Prototypes and first flights

In May 1945, a contract was signed. The subsequent Air Ministry specification B.3/45 requested production of four prototypes. Construction began in early 1946, but due to post-war military reduction the first aircraft did not fly until 13 May 1949. In the interim, the Air Ministry had already ordered 132 production aircraft in bomber, reconnaissance, and training variants. The prototype proved vice-free and required only a few modifications. A new glazed nose had to be fitted to accommodate a bomb-aimer because the advanced H2S bombing radar was not ready for production, the engines were upgraded to more powerful Avon R.A.3s, and the distinctive teardrop-shaped fuel tanks were fitted under the wingtips.

The resultant aircraft, designated the Canberra B2, first flew on 21 April 1950, and entered squadron service with Royal Air Force (RAF) No. 101 Squadron in May 1951. In a testament to the aircraft's benign handling characteristics, the transition program consisted of only 20 hours in the Gloster Meteor and three hours in the dual-control Canberra trainer. With a maximum speed of 470 kt (871 km/h), a standard service ceiling of 48,000 ft (14,600 m), and the ability to carry a 3.6 tonne payload, the Canberra was an instant success. It was built in 27 versions that equipped 35 RAF squadrons, and were exported to Australia, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Rhodesia, South Africa, Sweden, Venezuela and West Germany.

Photo-reconnaissance

The strategic reconnaissance role within the Royal Air Force had been carried out by the de Havilland Mosquito; in 1946 the Air Ministry issued Specification PR.31/46 as a jet-powered replacement for the Mosquito. To meet the requirement, the B2 design was modified by adding a 14-inch bay forward of the wing behind the cockpit to house seven cameras. It also had an additional fuel tank in the forward part of the bomb bay and only needed a two-man crew. The prototype, designated PR3, first flew on 19 March 1950, followed by the first of 35 production aircraft on the 31 July 1952. It entered service in December 1952 when No. 540 Squadron RAF began to convert from the Mosquito PR.34.

Conversion trainer

To enable crews to convert to flying the Canberra, a trainer version was developed to meet Air Ministry Specification T2/49. The prototype designated T4 first flew on 12 June 1951. It was the same basic design as the B2 apart from the introduction of side-by-side seating for the pilot and the instructor and the replacement of the glazed nose with a solid nose. The first production T4 flew on 20 September 1953 and the variant entered service with No. 231 Operational Conversion Unit RAF in early 1954. As well as the operational conversion unit, all the B2-equipped bomber squadrons received at least one T4 for training.

Manufacturing abroad

In the United States, where the US Air Force needed to replace the B-26 Invader, 403 Canberras were manufactured under licence by Martin as the B-57 Canberra in several versions. While these were initially almost exactly the same as the English Electric pattern aircraft apart from the tandem crew seating, later models featured a series of substantial modifications. In Australia, the Government Aircraft Factory (GAF) built 48 for the Royal Australian Air Force, broadly similar to the British B2 but with a modified leading edge, increased fuel capacity and room for three starter cartridges, although in practice all three cartridges would sometimes fire, leading to the triple starter units being loaded singly.

In the United Kingdom, the demand for Canberras exceeded English Electric's ability to supply airframes, and so Handley Page, Avro and Short Brothers manufactured them under licence. 901 Canberras were manufactured in the UK, total worldwide Canberra production being 1,352.

Design

The Canberra is mostly a metal aircraft, only the forward portion of the fin being of wooden construction and covered with plywood. The fuselage is of semi-monocoque construction with a pressurized nose compartment. Each crew member has a Martin-Baker ejection seat except in the B(I)8 and its export versions where the navigator has to rely on a conventional escape hatch and parachute. The fuselage contains two bomb-bays with conventional clam-shell doors (a rotating door was implemented on the Martin-built B-57 Canberra). The wing is of single-spar construction, the spar passing through the fuselage. Outboard of the engine nacelles the wing has a leading-edge sweep of 4° and trailing-edge sweep of -14°. Controls are conventional with aileron s, four-section flaps, and airbrake s on top and bottom surfaces of the wings.

Thrust was provided by a pair of 30 kN axial flow Rolls-Royce Avon turbojets. The manufacturer specified that cordite Coffman engine starter s should be used to trigger the starter motor and activate the engine. An improvised method of starting the engine using compressed air was heavily discouraged by Rolls-Royce, but some operators successfully operated the Canberra's engines in such a manner, the benefit being significant cost savings over cartridges.

It 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. In part due to its range limitation of just 2,000 miles, and its inability to carry the early, bulky nuclear bombs, the Canberra became more of a tactical bomber than a strategic one. In some cases, Canberras stationed across the far reaches of the former British Empire were not made nuclear capable until as late as 1957.

The Canberra could deploy many conventional weapons, typical weapons used were 250-pound, 500-pound, and 1000-pound bombs, the total bomb load could weigh up to 10,000-pounds. Operators such as Rhodesia developed their own weapons such as anti-personnel bomblets, the ''Alpha bomb'', to make the aircraft more effective in the operator's own operating context. Weapons such as anti-personnel flechette strikes were tested successfully from the Canberra, but not put into practice due to international agreements.

Due to the use of a new alloy, DTD683, the undercarriages of the Canberra suffered from stress corrosion, which caused them to decay within a few years. The extreme hazard posed of undercarriages collapsing during landings, especially if the aircraft were carrying nuclear weapons, led the RAF to institute regular inspections, at first using radiography before moving to more effective and reliable ultrasound technology.

Operational history

Royal Air Force

The Canberra B2 started to enter service with 101 Squadron in January 1951, with 101 Squadron being fully equipped by May, and a further squadron, No. 9 Squadron equipping by the end of the year. The production of the Canberra was accelerated as a result of the outbreak of the Korean War, orders for the aircraft increased and outpaced production capacity, as the aircraft was designated as a ''"super priority"''. A further five squadrons were able to be equipped with the Canberra by the end of 1952; however, production in the 1951–52 period had only been half of the level planned, due to shortages in skilled manpower, material, and suitable machine tools.

The Canberra replaced Mosquito s, Lincolns and Washingtons as front line bombers, showing a drastically improved performance, proving to be effectively immune from interception during air defence exercises until the arrival of the Hawker Hunter. The Canberra also replaced the RAF's Mosquitos in the reconnaissance role, with the Canberra PR3 entering service in December 1952.

The improved Canberra B6, with more powerful engines and more fuel, started to supplement the B2s in the UK based squadrons of Bomber Command from June 1954, when they replaced 101 Squadrons B2s. This freed up older B2s to allow Canberra squadrons to form overseas, with bomber and reconnaissance Canberra wings forming in RAF Germany and on Cyprus, with squadrons also being deployed to the Far East.

The Canberra allegedly executed a 1953 reconnaissance flight over the Soviet rocket launch and development site at Kapustin Yar, although the UK government has never admitted the existence of such a flight. Further reconnaissance flights are alleged to have taken place along, and over, the borders of the Soviet Union in 1954 under the code name ''Project Robin'', using the Canberra B2 ''WH726 ''. The USAF also used the Canberra for reconnaissance flights, however the aircraft were no longer required after June 1956, the introduction of the US Lockheed U-2 purpose-built reconnaissance aircraft; ''Project Robin'' was then terminated.

The Vickers Valiant entered service in 1955, capable of carrying much heavier weapon loads (including the Blue Danube atomic bomb ) over longer ranges than the Canberra. This led to the Bomber Command force of Canberras equipped for high-level conventional bombing to be gradually phased out. This did not mean the end of the Canberra in front line service, however, as it proved suitable for the low-level strike and ground attack role, and versions dedicated to this role were brought into service. The interim B(I)6, converted from the B6 by adding provision for a pack of four 20 mm cannon in the rear bomb bay and underwing pylons for bombs and rockets, entered service in 1955, with the definitive, new build B(I)8, which added a new forward fuselage with a fighter-style canopy for the pilot, entering service in January 1956.

An important role for the new low-level force was tactical nuclear strike, using the Low Altitude Bombing System (LABS) to allow a nuclear bomb to be delivered from low level while allowing the bomber to escape the blast of the weapon. RAF Germany's force of four squadrons equipped with the B(I)6 and B(I)8 were equipped to carry US-owned Mark 7 nuclear bomb s, while three squadrons based on Cyprus and one at Singapore were armed with British-owned Red Beard nuclear weapons.

Bomber Command retired the last of its Canberras on 11 September 1961, but the Germany, Cyprus and Singapore based squadrons continued in the nuclear strike role. The Cyprus based squadrons and one of the RAF Germany squadrons disbanded in 1969, with the Singapore based unit followed in 1970. The three remaining RAF Germany units, which by now had replaced the old Mark 7 bombs with newer (but still US-owned) B43 nuclear bomb s, remained operational until 1972, the last Canberra bombers in RAF service.

The RAF continued to operate the Canberra after 1972, employing it for reconnaissance (with Squadrons equipped with PR7s and PR9s being based at RAF Wyton in the UK and RAF Luqa in Malta. The PR9s were fitted with special LOROP (Long-Range Optical Photography) cameras, reportedly based on those used by the Lockheed U-2, to allow high-altitude of targets deep into Eastern Europe while flying along the inner German border, as well as infrared linescan cameras for low level night reconnaissance. The RAF used Canberras to search for hidden arms dumps using false-colour photography during Operation Motorman in July 1972, when the British Army re-took Irish republican held "no go areas" in Belfast and Derry. Canberras were used for reconnaissance over Bosnia during the war during the 1990s, where they were used to locate mass graves and during the Kosovo War in 1999. They were also operated from Uganda during the First Congo War, where they were used to search for refugees. Small numbers of specially equipped Canberras were also used for Signals Intelligence, being operated by 192 Squadron and then 51 Squadron from 1953 to 1976.

The PR9 variant remained in service with No. 39 (1 PRU) Squadron until July 2006 for strategic reconnaissance and photographic mapping, seeing service in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and, up to June 2006, in Afghanistan. During a ceremony to mark the standing down of 39 (1 PRU) Squadron at RAF Marham on 28 July 2006, a flypast by a Canberra PR9 on its last ever sortie was conducted.

Royal Australian Air Force

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, the Australian government began reorganising the armed forces. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) developed Plan "D" for its postwar structure, built around the concept of a small, agile air arm employing leading edge technology. The RAAF decided to acquire the Canberra to replace or complement the Avro Lincoln, though fears were raised that the new design was not especially advanced. While Australia never introduced nuclear weapons into service, the Canberra's ability to carry such a payload was a factor in its acquisition; Australia's planned force of 48 Canberras, with the potential for being nuclear-armed, was viewed as far more potent and deterring than the entire RAAF's wartime forces of 254 heavy bombers. The first Australian-built Canberra first flew on 29 May 1953 at Avalon and was delivered to the RAAF for service trials a few weeks later. The Canberra entered Australian service in December 1953.

From July 1950 to July 1960, during the Malayan Emergency, Canberras from Australia, New Zealand and the UK were deployed into the Malaysia to fight against Communist Guerillas. In 1964, the RAAF deployed a squadron of Canberras to participate in the Vietnam War. The unit, No. 2 Squadron, was later commended for its performance by the United States Air Force. The Canberras were typically operated in the low-level bombing role. They were withdrawn from Vietnam in 1971, two of the aircraft having been lost in combat.

As early as 1954, Australia recognised that the Canberra was becoming outdated, and evaluated aircraft such as the Avro Vulcan and Handley-Page Victor as potential replacements. The Canberra was incapable of providing adequate coverage of Indonesia from Australian bases, and was evaluated as having a "very low" chance of survival if it encounted modern fighters like the MiG-17. Political pressure for a Canberra replacement rose to a head in 1962. Initially Australia appeared to favour the BAC TSR-2, but chose to procure the General Dynamics F-111C in October 1963. Due in part to delays in the delivery of the F-111Cs, the Canberra continued to be used by Australia for a total of 29 years before its retirement in June 1982.

Indian Air Force

The Canberra was the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for bombing raids and photo reconnaissance for many decades. Negotiations to acquire the Canberra as a replacement for the short-lived and obsolete Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers then being used by India began in 1954. During the extended negotiations between Britain and India, the Soviet Union is alleged to have offered their own jet bomber, the Ilyushin Il-28, at a significantly lower price than that asked for the Canberra; however by April 1956 the Indian government was in favour of the purchase. In January 1957 India placed a large order for the Canberra; a total of 54 B(I)58 bombers, eight PR57 photo reconnaissance aircraft, and six T4 training aircraft were ordered, deliveries began in the summer of that same year. 12 more Canberras were ordered in September 1957, as many as 30 more may have also been purchased by 1962.

First used in combat by the IAF in 1962, the Canberra was employed during the UN campaign against the breakaway Republic of Katanga in Africa. During the Indo-Pakistani Wars of the 1960s and 1970s, the Canberra was used by both sides. One of the worst combat loss incidents occurred on 1 September 1965, four Indian Canberras were shot down by Pakistani fighters. The most audacious use of the bomber was in the ''"Raid on Badin"'' during the Second Kashmir War, when the Indian Air Force sent in the Canberra to attack a critical Pakistani radar post in West Pakistan. The raid was a complete success, the radars in Badin having been badly damaged by the bombing and put out of commission. A later raid by the IAF was attempted on Peshawar Air base with the aim of destroying, amongst other targets, several Pakistani B-57 bombers, American-built Canberras. Due to poor visibility, a road outside of the base was bombed, instead of the runway where the parked PAF B-57 bombers were located.

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Indian Canberras flew a strategically important sortie against the Karachi oil tanks, this had the effect of helping the Indian Navy in their own operations, a series of missile boat attacks against the Pakistani coast. On 21 May 1999, prior to the commencement of the Kargil War, the Indian Air Force Air HQ assigned a Canberra PR57 aircraft on a photographic mission near the LOC (Line of Control ), where it took a severe blow from a FIM-92 Stinger infrared homing missile on the starboard engine; although it was left with only one operational engine, the aircraft successfully returned to base.

The entire Indian Air Force Canberra fleet was grounded and then retired following the crash of an IAF Canberra in December 2005. After 50 years of service, the Canberra was finally retired by the IAF on 11 May 2007.

Africa

During the Suez Crisis the RAF employed around 100 Canberras, flying conventional bombing and reconnaissance missions from airfields in both Malta and Cyprus. A total of 278 Canberra sorties were flown, dropping 1,439 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs; however low-level strikes by smaller fighters were judged to be more effective than the night time bombing operations performed by both the Canberra and the Vickers Valiant. In addition, many of the bombs, intended to hit Egyptian airfields, missed their targets, failing to do much damage to the Egyptian Air Force or to badly effect enemy morale. While interception of the Canberra was within the capabilities of Egypt's MiG-15 s and MiG-17s, as shown by the interception of Canberras by MiG-15s prior to the Anglo-French invasion, these did not result in any losses. The only Canberra shot down during the Suez campaign was a PR7 shot down by a Syrian Gloster Meteor fighter on 6 November 1956, the last day of the war.

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland considered the Canberra an important objective to holding greater diplomatic sway in the African continent, and ongoing negotiations over the Baghdad treaty, and a step towards decolonisation. The Suez Crisis caused a delay in the sale, but in August 1957 18 Canberras had been earmarked to be refurbished and transferred from the RAF to the Royal Rhodesian Air Force (RRAF). Both Rhodesia and South Africa used Canberras in their respective Bush War s; numerous aircraft were lost in the conflicts. Rhodesian Canberras carried out attacks on Mozambique, often armed with cluster bombs, more limited raids on Zambia, and an attack upon a terrorist base in Angola.Ethiopia n Canberras were used against Eritrea and again against Somalia during the 1970s.

Europe

The Swedish Air Force purchased two Canberras from the RAF in 1960 and had these modified to T11s by Boulton Paul. The aircraft were secretly modified in Sweden as espionage aircraft for eavesdropping on primarily Soviet, Polish and East German military radio transmissions, although this was not publicly admitted until 10 years later. The Canberras were given the designation Tp 52, and taken into service as "testing aircraft", until they were replaced by two Tp 85 Caravelle s in 1971.

South America

The Argentine Air Force received 10 B62 and two T64 trainers at the beginning of the 1970s. During the 1982 Falklands War, eight of them were deployed to Trelew, a distance of 670 miles (1,080 km) from the islands, to avoid congestion on the closer southern airfields. They were within operating range of the British task force, but the Canberra was judged to be a limited threat due to its poor manoeuvrability compared with the Sea Harrier s on air defence duties. On 1 May 1982, during an attack on the British ships sailing towards the islands by several Israeli-made Dagger s and a sole Canberra, the bomber, along with at least one of the Daggers, was shot down by the responding Sea Harriers for no losses on the British side. Following this engagement, Argentina stopped using the Canberra on such missions.

Nonetheless, from 1 May to 14 June 1982, the Argentine Canberras made 54 sorties; 36 of them bombing missions, of which 22 were at night against ground troops. Two aircraft were lost in combat, one to a Sea Harrier using an AIM-9L Sidewinder Air-to-air missile on 1 May 1982, and another to a Sea Dart missile on 13 June fired by HMS ''Cardiff''. This latter aircraft was the last Argentine aircraft to be lost in combat during the Falklands War. Argentina retired its last Canberras in April 2000.

Peruvian Air Force Canberras flew combat sorties against Ecuadorian positions during the Cenepa War in 1995. On 6 February 1995, a Canberra Mk.68 disappeared over the operations zone; the aircraft had apparently struck a hill in poor weather conditions. Peru retired its Canberras in June 2008.

Development and trials aircraft

A number of Canberras were used by English Electric for development work and trials on new equipment. It was also used by government establishments such as the Royal Aircraft Establishment and the Royal Radar Establishment. The Canberra proved to be a useful platform for such work and was used by a number of British tests and trials establishments. As well as those operated by English Electric a number of engine manufacturers were also loaned Canberras as engine test beds; Armstrong Siddeley for the Sapphire, Bristol Siddeley for the Olympus, de Havilland Engine Company for the Gyron Junior turbojet and Rolls-Royce Limited for the Avon. Ferranti used four different Canberra B2s for avionics development work.

One example is ''WV787'' which was built as a Canberra B2 in 1952, it was loaned to Armstrong Siddeley and was fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines. It was later transferred to Ferranti for trials for the Blackburn Buccaneer radar and fitted with a B(I)8 type nose and a Buccaneer style radome. It next was moved to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment where it was modified to be used as a water-spray tanker aircraft for de-icing trials. It would fly in front of the aircraft being tested which would fly into the artificial cloud created by the sprayed water to induce icing. It was retired in 1984 and later preserved at the Newark Air Museum and is a National Benchmark airframe on the National Aviation Heritage Register.

Survivors

Several ex-RAF machines and RB-57s remain flying in the US for research and mapping work. About 10 airworthy Canberras are in private hands today, and are flown at air displays. The Temora Aviation Museum, in Australia, has a former RAF Canberra which it acquired in 2001. The aircraft was fully restored to airworthiness and painted to represent the Canberras flown by the Royal Australian Air Force 2 Squadron during the Vietnam war. It is Australia's only airworthy Canberra. The only Canberras, albeit US variants, remaining in active service are two American-built B-57s operated by NASA for high altitude research.

Flight records set by Canberras

* 21 January 1951 - first non-stop unrefuelled transatlantic crossing by a jet.

* 26 August 1952 - the prototype B5 made the first double transatlantic crossing by a jet, with a total time of 10 hr 3 min.

* 4 May 1953 - Canberra B2 ''WD952'', fitted with Rolls-Royce Olympus engines set a world altitude record -

* 29 August 1955 - altitude record -

* 28 August 1957 - altitude record - : Canberra B2 (''WK163 '') with a Napier ''Double Scorpion '' rocket motor.

Variants

''See B-57 Canberra article for the US-built variants.''

English Electric A

.1Company designation for the first four aircraft before being named Canberra.

Canberra B1

Prototypes for type development work and research at first known by the company designation A1, four built.

Canberra B2

First production version, crew increased to three with addition of bomb aimer, Avon R.A.3 engines with 6,500 lbf (28.91 kN) of thrust, wingtip fuel tanks. 418 built by English Electric (208), Avro (75), Handley Page (75) and Short Brothers & Harland (60) including eight for export (Australia, United States and Venezuela).

Canberra PR3

Photo-reconnaissance version of B2, it had a 14 inch section added to the fuselage to house the camera bay, internal fuel was increased and flat panel in the nose was removed. Needed only two crew. The prototype was flown on 19 March 1950 and the variant entered service in 1953.

Canberra T4

First trainer variant with dual controls and a crew of three.

Canberra B5

Prototype of second-generation Canberra with fuel tanks in the wings and Avon R.A.7 engines with 7,490 lbf (33.32 kN) of thrust, one built.

Canberra B6

Production version based on B5 with a 1 ft (0.3 m) fuselage stretch, 106 built by English Electric (57) and Short Brothers & Harland (49), includes 12 for export.

Canberra B6

(RC)RC = Radio Countermeasures (also known as B6(Mod) or PR16) - Specialist ELINT version with enlarged nose and Blue Shadow Side Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR). Only four produced, extended nose.

Canberra B

(I)6Interim interdictor version for the RAF pending delivery of the B(I)8. Based on B6 with a detachable ventral pack housing four 20 mm Hispano cannon for strafing; also had provision for two wing hard points. 22 produced.

Canberra PR7

Photo-reconnaissance version based on B6, had similar equipment to the PR3 but had the uprated Avon 109 engines of the B6 and increased internal fuel capacity, 74 built.

Canberra B

(I)8Third-generation Canberra derived from B6 as an interdictor. Fitted with a new forward fuselage with teardrop canopy on the port side, and Navigator station forward of pilot (early marks had the navigator behind the pilot. Provision for a ventral pack similar to the B(I)6 with 4 x 20 mm Hispano cannon, one external hardpoint under each wing for up to 1,000 lb (454 kg) of bombs or unguided rockets, LABS (Low-Altitude Bombing System) for delivery of nuclear bombs. Prototype converted from the only B5 and first flown 23 July 1954, 72 built including 17 for export and two converted from B2s.

Canberra PR9

Photo-reconnaissance version based on B(I)8 with fuselage stretched to 68 ft (27.72 m), wingspan increased by 4 ft (1.22 m), and Avon R.A.27 (Avon 206) engines with 10,030 lbf (44.6 kN) of thrust. Had the offset canopy of the B(I)8 with a hinged nose to allow fitment of an ejection seat for the navigator. A total of 23 built by Short Brothers & Harland with three transferred to Chile after the Falklands War.

Canberra U10

(later designated D10)Remote-controlled target drones converted from B2. 18 converted.

Canberra T11

Nine B2s converted to trainers for pilots and navigators of all-weather interceptors to operate the Airborne Intercept radar, crew of four.

Canberra B

(I)12Canberra B(I)8 bombers built for New Zealand and South Africa.

Canberra T13

Training version of the T4 for New Zealand, one built new and one conversion from T4.

Canberra U14

(later designated D14)Remote-controlled target drones converted from the B2 for Royal Navy. Six converted.

Canberra B15

Upgraded B6 for use in the Far and Near East with underwing hardpoints for 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs or rockets. New avionics and fitting of three cameras, 39 conversions.

Canberra B16

Similar to B15 for use in Germany and fitted with Blue Shadow, 19 conversions

Canberra T17

Electronic warfare training variant used to train surface-based radar and missile operators and airborne fighter and Airborne Early Warning crews in handling jamming (including chaff dropping) aircraft. 24 conversions from B2 with extended nose for sensors.

Canberra T17A

Updated version of the T17 with improved navigation aids, a spectrum analyser in place of the previously-fitted AN/APR-20, and a powerful communications jammer.

Canberra TT18

Target tug conversion of B2 for the Royal Navy, 22 conversions.

Canberra T19

T11 with radar removed as silent target.

Canberra B20

B2 with additional fuel tanks in the wings, licence-built in Australia.

Canberra T21

Trainers converted from B2 and B20.

Canberra T22

Conversion of the PR7 for Royal Navy's Fleet Requirement and Air Direction Unit, used for training Buccaneer navigators.

Canberra Mk

.52Refurbished B2 bombers sold to Ethiopia.

Canberra Mk

.56Refurbished B(I)6 bombers sold to Peru.

Canberra PR57

Tropicalized PR7 for India.

Canberra B

(I)58Tropicalized B(I)8 for India.

Canberra Mk

.6210 refurbished B2 bombers sold to Argentina.

Canberra Mk

.642 refurbished T4 trainers sold to Argentina.

Canberra Mk

.6610 refurbished B(I)6 bombers sold to India.

Canberra Mk

.672 refurbished PR7s sold to India.

Canberra Mk

.681 refurbished B(I)8 bomber sold to Peru.

Canberra B92

1 modified B2 for Argentina, not delivered and embargoed in 1982.

Canberra T94

1 modified T4 for Argentina, not delivered and embargoed in 1982.

Short SC

.91 Canberra PR9 rebuilt by Shorts fitted with an AI.23 radar, plus IR installation in the nose for Red Top air-to-air missile trials. Continued in use for radar missile development work.

Short SD

.11 Canberra PR3 modified to carry two Short SD.2 variants of the Beech AQM-37A high-speed target missiles for trials by the Royal Aircraft Establishment.