Author Topic: Canberra PR.29 in RAAF Service  (Read 427 times)

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Canberra PR.29 in RAAF Service
« on: September 01, 2021, 03:26:51 PM »
The Canberra PR.29 in RAAF Service

You will have read (and hopefully remember) the tale of the Meteor PR.29 in RAAF service.  Developed in an effort to keep tabs on Indonesia tensions in the mid-1950s, it was lost on a training mission over Borneo with all itís crew.  Believed to have been shot down by an Indonesian MiG-21 on a ballistic trajectory itís loss was not that great to the RAAF.   The RAAF had already began to develop itís successor, the Canberra PR.29.  The Meteor, while a high flyer lacked the necessary range to keep tabs over most of the Indonesian archipelago.  It could cover only half the archipelago, either from Darwin or from Butterworth in Malaya.   The RAAF needed an aircraft with the range to cover the entire length of the archipelago.

Having heard rumours about the RAF and the USAFís efforts to develop a high flying version of the Canberra from emigrant ex-RAF migrants, they decided to copy the USAFís efforts and developed their own version of the B-57D, by extending the wing span of itís own Canberras.  So, the GAF (Government Aircraft Factory) set to.  Using Red Gum timber they extended the wings to approximately 106 ft 0 in (32.3 m) as against the standard 64 yft 0 in (19.51 m),  this conferred an operational ceiling of approximately 70,000 ft (21,300 m) approximately.  Coupled with the uprated Avon Engines it was equipped with Avon Mk.26 rated at 7,500 lbf (33.36 kN) as against the normal RA.7 Avonís 7,350 lbf (32.69 kN).  Itís range was over 1,700 miles.  Equipped with Cameras it was able to photograph long swathes of the islands.

The RAF, just as in the case of the Meteor were alerted to the presence of this long winged Canberra when one landed at Butterworth.  Alarmed that their own high flying Canberra, the PR.9 had been revealed prematurely, they dispatched their Air Attache officer from Kaula Lumpa to Butterworth.  The Canberra PR.29 was the RAAFís top secret, their ďace in the pocketĒ and they were reluctant to reveal itís presence to the RAF.  However under some gentle persuading the secret was revealed.  The RAF was shown the long winged bird.  They were impressed.   

The Canberra PR.29 served with the RAAF for approximately 10 years.  It was retired because of White Ants infesting the wing main spar.  One was lost in flight because of this problem.  Australia is notorious for White Ants.   It served over Indonesia during Konfrontasi and so Indonesian intentions were closely watched.  It also served briefly in South Vietnam but it was found to be unnecessary with the massive US involvement there.

The Model

The model is built from a High Planes B-57D kit with the addition of a Aeroclub nose to replace itís tandem seats.  The interior was scratchbuilt.  It was painted with a hair stick with Vallejo and Tamiya acrylics.  The decals came from the sparesbox.