TP 52 - English Electric Canberra B.2 (1960-1974)

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English Electric Canberra T.17 RAF WF916.Stamp from St. Kitts.

The TP 52 was powered by two Rolls Royce Avon Mk 101C engines, each giving a thrust of 3.000 kp. The Swedish designation for this engine was RM 3A

At the beginning of December 1960, 52001 returned to the F8 Wing where it began its service for FRA together with TP 82 Varsity and occasionally with TP 83 Pembroke. Half a year later, the 25th of May 1961, 52002 was also ready to join 52001 at the F8 Wing's home base at Barkarby.  

52001, with the code 01 on the fin, was, as planned nearly exclusively used for ELINT purposes for the FRA. The crew then consisted of three; a pilot, a navigator and an operator from the FRA. The aircraft was all the time fitted with the English "T.11-nose cone" and extra fuel tanks on the wing tips. This arrangement gave it the range to patrol the Baltic Sea from North to South on "turn and return"   missions. Alternatively, it could fly the borders between Norway, Finland and Denmark.  52002 worked of course under different conditions. The missions were short-time tests in the field of teletechnical research (i.e. radar, radio, data transmission, recognizing of friend/foe and other projects of strictly secret nature). On these flights the crew of pilot and navigator were joined by one or two researchers on the two rear seats. At these types of missions, the "Lansen" radome was nearly always used. But occasionally 52002 also flew with the T.11 radome. Extra fuel tanks were less usual than on 52001. The aircraft was very busy as a research platform, but when not on its missions, it was sometimes used as a "flying target" plane. 

Both aircraft were sometimes used in "ÖB-controls”. These controls implied that the aeroplanes were flown on absolutely lowest altitude (sometimes under 10 meters) over the sea, eastward or westward. After some time, they changed direction and flew towards the Swedish coast before climbing fast to high altitude. Suddenly an echo could pop up on the radar screens in the underground centres. This was of course to check how alert the radar operators were. The extreme low flying altitude was used after it appeared that you could be discovered in certain sectors, even if you flew on 15-20 meters altitude. The navigation was of course important considering other nations borders and was carried out with the help of Decca Navigator. The pilot had a hard job. As there was no autopilot, he had to manually adopt a very "precision-flying" approach.

When the Air Force Wing F 8 at Barkarby was disbanded in 1973, the Canberra's were rebased to F 3 at Malmen near Linköping. But this just before the career of the Swedish Canberra's was over. In the beginning of the 1970's they had been too small and narrow for its purpose. FRA demanded a considerable larger space for their equipment. Two SE-210 Caravelle (TP 85 in the Swedish Air Force) could be purchased from SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) for a reasonable cost. # 52001 was given the markings of F 3 with the code 19 at the tail and flew some last missions the first months of 1974. 52002 was taken out of service in 1973 and was never re-painted

Length: 21,30 m. Span: 19,30 m. Height: 4,70 m. MTOW: 17.200 kg. Max. speed: 930 km/h.

Photo at top: The stamp depicts the RAF Canberra WF916. This was one of the 22 of the RAF Canberra's of variant T.17, specialized for Electronic Counter Measures/Electronic Warfare. These aircraft were converted from Canberra B.2 bombers and belonged to a joint RAF/RN unit, the 360th Squadron. The bomb bay and the newly designed nose housed the additional ECM/ECW equipment.





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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-02-28


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