English Electric Canberra B.15: The Missile-toting Canberra

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Introduction: The Canberra B.15 is a rather interesting variant of the Canberra, as it was the only in service variant to mount missiles of any kind. What makes it even more interesting is that these missiles were the AS.30, a type not often talked about in British service, especially since it only lasted a few years in service.

Description: The B.15 is essentially just a heavily refurbished B.6 with strengthened wings. Note that this is the B.6 variant, which was itself an upgrade to the B.2, not the B.(I).6 we see in game already, which has more in common with the B.(I).8 version I discussed in a previous suggestion already. Due to this, it does not carry the It carries the same armament as the B.6, with the main difference being the ability to carry an AS.30 on both underwing pylons. In 1965, it was decided to arm two Canberra squadrons (No.32 and No.73 squadrons) with AS.30 missiles. A thousand units were procured, with aircraft being modified to carry the weapon at Samlesbury. Two aircraft were used to help the program, WH966 for crew familiarisation and WH967, for trials with Boulton-Paul, which was specially modified to carry a camera in a small ventral hump in front of the bomb bay (see the spoiler “B.15 and B.16 Eye Candy”). Many firings occurred at the El Adam test range. No.103 MU at RAF Akrotiri was used to convert aircraft to use the missile. By 1966, the missile was deemed combat ready. Although Nord (the missile’s manufacturer) had began to improve the missile, the variant on the Canberra was kept the same. No.45 Squadron also converted to use the missile. In 1967, the squadron fired its first live fire test, and subsequent exercises followed. By 1969, the withdrawal of British forces from the Far East was begun in earnest, and restrictions on live firing were lifted to get rid of existing stores. No.45 Squadron flew many happy hours of missile firing before it was disbanded at Tengah on 18 February 1970. No.81 Squadron had disbanded at Tengah on 16 January 1970, and No.20squadron, with its Hunter FGA.9s and Scottish Aviation Pioneer CC1s followed suit on 18 February. Thus, the short chapter of the AS.30 in RAF history had ended.

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Performance:

Spoiler

spec metric english


wingspan 19.5 meters 63 feet 11 inches
wing area 89.23 sq_meters 960 sq_feet
length 19.96 meters 65 feet 6 inches
height 4.75 meters 15 feet 7 inches

empty weight 10,070 kilograms 22,200 pounds
max loaded weight 20,860 kilograms 46,000 pounds

maximum speed 915 KPH 570 MPH / 495 KT
service ceiling 14,630 meters 48,000 feet
range (no tanks) 4,275 kilometers 2,656 MI / 2,310 NMI

Armament:

Iron bombs (in bomb bay and on wing pylons)
AS-30 missiles (on wing pylons)
2-in Microcell rocket pods (on wing pylons)

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Conclusion: I think that this unique version of the Canberra would be a great addition to the game, and give the UK more options when it comes to missile-armed aircraft. This, combined with the Canberra’s excellent bombload, would make for a great aircraft.

Sources:

Spoiler

Aviation Archive: Farnborough: The Golden Years (Information)

Canberra and the AS.30 ASM | Secret Projects Forum (Information)

THE ROYAL AIR FORCE, 1950-1969 | Imperial War Museums (Images)

EE Canberra B(I)8 | Romsey Modellers (Images)

16 Sqn Canberra B(I).8 XM263 | A Military Photos & Video Website (Images)

https://www.raf-in-combat.com/downloads/june-2017-english-electric-canberra-bi-8-part-1-50-photos/ (Images)

14 Sqn English Electric Canberra B(I).8 WT346 | A Military Photos & Video Website (Images)

https://drivetribe.com/p/flightline-153-english-electric-UKEnj613TySCWHMeTqSSZA?iid=Dh5-zjfQS56oqWobUf-rnw (Images and Information)

[1.0] British Canberras (Performance)

English Electric Canberra ~ Everything You Need to Know with Photos | Videos (Performance)

RAF Canberra Units of the Cold War - Andrew Brookes - Google Books

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This looks like a total blast, and would offer an interesting twist on the usual Canberra gameplay! +1

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+1 looks fun

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Why not? Better than the Other Canberra for precision CAS +1

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