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B-57 Canberra

The origins of the B-57 Canberra can be traced indirectly to the latter part of World War II when the Luftwaffe began combat operations with two jet propelled aircraft. The Messerschmidt and the Arado. Although the introduction of these two aircraft was too late to affect the outcome of the war, it sent a shock throughout the allied air forces. In 1951, the United States broke a long-standing tradition by purchasing a foreign military aircraft to be manufactured in quantity for the U.S. Air Force. The B-57 is a modified version of the English Electric Canberra which was first flown in Great Britain on May 13, 1949, and later produced for the Royal Air Force.

After the Korean Conflict began in 1950, the U. S. Air Force looked for a jet-powered medium bomber to replace the aging Douglas B-26 Invader. In March 1951, the USAF contracted with the Glenn Martin Company to build the Canberra in the United States under a licensing agreement with English Electric. The first Canberra in American colors flew in 1951 with the first American built Canberra or Intruder in 1953. The Martin-built B-57 made its first flight on July 20, 1953. When production was terminated in 1959, a total of 403 Canberras had been produced for the USAF.

The B-57 served as a light bomber and as a reconnaissance aircraft. American built Canberras have also been exported to Turkey as well as other countries. One unique feature about the B-57 was its rotating bomb bay door. The bombs were loaded on the door assembly itself which would rotate completely inside the bomb bay prior to weapon release.

;One version, the RB-57 with greatly enlarged wings, served as a stratospheric reconnaissance aircraft. Other B-57s served as tactical aircraft in Vietnam.

The EB-57B electronic warfare version called the "Night Intruder" dispensed chaff to jam hostile radar transmissions. Other B-57s were used to tow targets and as transitional trainers for jet aircrews.


Manufacturer: Glen L. Martin
Nickname: Canberra
Crew: 2 - Pilot and Weapons/Radar Operator
Length: 65' 6"
Height: 15' 6"
Wingspan: 64'
Empty Weight: 26,000 lbs
Max Weight: 55,000 lbs
No. of Engines: 2
Powerplant: Two Wright J65-W-5 engines or
two Buick J65-BW-5 engines
Thrust (each): 7,200 lbs
Cruise Speed: 450 mph
Max Speed: 570 mph
Service Ceiling: 49,000 ft
Range: 2,000 miles
Guns: 4 - 20mm cannons (or)
8 - .50 caliber machine guns
Bombs (internal) 5,000 lbs
Bombs (external) 4 weapons pylons for bombs or rockets

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