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Aircraft Stats:

Powerplant: 2 x RR Avon 109 turbojets
Speed: 933 kph, 580mph mph
Range: 6 100km, 3,790miles
Seats: 2
Length: 19.96m, 65ft 6in
Span: 19.51m, 12ft 12in
Empty Weight: 12 678kg, 27,950lb
Max T/O Weight: 24 945kg, 55,000lb
Period of Service: 1963 - 1991

Canberra B(I)12

Status: Retired
Manufacturer: English Electric
Country of Manufacture: United Kingdom
Role: Bomber/Reconaissance

The SAAF received the first B(I) Mk 12 aircraft in 1963. Six B(I) Mk 12 bombers (451 to 456) and the T Mk 4 trainers (457 to 459) were operated by 12 Squadron.

A second-hand B Mk2 nose was acquired from Rhodesia and T Mk 4 trainer 457 was converted to a bomber.

The bomber version had a glass nose to enable the navigator/bomb-aimer to aim the bombs through a gyroscopically stabilised gunsight, while the pilot say under an off-set tear-drop canopy.

Weapons fit included: 

 - 1 x 460kg (1000 lb) bomb under each wing

-  9 x 227kg (500 lb) HE bombs in the bomb bay

The reconnaissance fit on the B(I)12s of 12 Squadron was contained in the conformal gun pack 'canoe' which came with the airframes from the UK. The cameras included the Zeiss F-96, using 9" x 9" film stock (B/W and IRFC ) and typically 6", 12", 24", 36" and 48" FL lenses and, from time to time, the Omera 6".

Up to 5 - usually 3 - Zeiss cameras would be arranged in a fan, with the 6" Omera giving a wider field for PI orientation. There would be a 36" Zeiss F-96 arranged as a vertical 'pinpoint' camera, but the 48" lens was used rarely, as it proved too difficult to keep 'points of interest' within the 'banana slide' aiming device used to manage good tracking.

There was a circular rear camera hatch/bay in which the prime vertical F-96 camera was typically mounted. This was utilised, after quite a while, during low-level strike missions for BDA photography by mounting an optical mirror looking at ~45 degrees aft/down. This recorded sequentially where the Alpha weapons were about to/had just struck. That simple idea saved a lot of time, and saved sending another aircraft back later.


Formation of Canberras. Canberra B2 457 at the SAAF MUseum, Swartkop, in 2004. Canberra B(I) Mk12  weapons. Canberra B(I) Mk12  weapons. Three view.