The Canberra B(I).12 was the 'export version' of the B(I).8 for the air forces of New Zealand and South Africa. The B(I).12 carried an additional fuel tank in the bomb bay, extending the range to 3300 nautical miles. The aircraft also featured an auto pilot system and an extra navigation kit. Canberra B(I).8 WT329 (c/n EEP71443) was to serve as the trials aircraft. The machine was flown to Seighford for modification by Boulton Paul on 9 April 1958. On completion the Aeroplane&Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down undertook handling trials and prepared the pilot's notes for the type. WT329/NZ6101 returned to Boulton Paul at Seighford on 27 August 1959 for onward delivery to 23 Maintenance Unit on 3 December 1959. From there NZ6101 was flown to New Zealand and arrived at RNZAF Base Ohakea for No. 14 Squadron in October 1959.
Canberra B(I).12 for New Zealand
In February 1958 the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) had placed an order for nine B(I).12 Canberra's and two trainer aircraft, equivalent to the T.4, designated T.13 in RNZAF service: NZ6151 (c/n not known) and NZ6102 ex RAF T.4 WE190 (c/n EEP71181).
A further order for two more B(I).12s, bringing the total number of B(I).12 for the RNZAF to eleven. The RNZAF machines were built by English Electric at Preston and were delivered between October 1959 and June 1961.
The RNZAF B(I).12s were assigned to No.14 Squadron at RNZAF Base Ohakea in the North Island. This was the only RNZAF operational Unit. When required the Canberras were in use with the Bomber Operational Unit and the Strike Support Unit, both also based at Ohakea.
The Canberras were used in the Indonesian confrontation of Malaysia during from 1964 to 1966, when No.14 Squadron's aircraft were based in both Singapore (RAF Tengah and RAAF Butterworth) and for only a short time in Borneo (RAF Labuan).
Canberra B(I).12 production, serials and construction numbers.
One aircraft, NZ6101, ex WT329 (c/n EEP71443) was taken from an RAF order for 30 B(I).8 aircraft, but the remaining aircraft for New Zealand were all new-built aircraft, all built by English Electric at Preston, with final assembly at Samlesbury:
NZ6102 (c/n EEP71642)
NZ6103 (c/n EEP71656)
NZ6104 (c/n EEP71657)
NZ6105 (c/n EEP71658)
NZ6106 (c/n EEP71659)
NZ6107 (c/n EEP71660)
NZ6108 (c/n EEP71661)
NZ6109 (c/n EEP71662)
NZ6110 (c/n EEP71671)
NZ6111 (c/n EEP71669)
NZ6101 was lost as the aircraft crashed during a practice asymmetric approach to Christchurch Airport on 1 November 1960.
NZ6104 crashed on 30 November 1964 into the sea off Singapore, her crew, F/O R. Thompson and F/L J. Southgate did not survive.
In 1969 a serious manufacturing flaw was discovered in main spar of NZ6106. The machine was returned to BAC in May 1970, but repairs were deemed to costly. Some years later, in May 1976, the machine was seen in a derelict state at Samlesbury. It is thought NZ6106 was broken up that summer.
Canberra B(I).12 for South Africa
In 1963 six new-built B(I).12 aircraft arrived for service with No.12 Squadron at Waterkloof Air Base near Pretoria, South Africa.
The six SAAF aircraft were serialised 451 to 456. Although details of operational service are sparse, the Canberras were used on cross-border anti-guerilla missions over Namibia and Angola. No.12 Squadron lost one aircraft: On 14 March 1979 Canberra 452 crashed after an attack on Ongiva, 5 miles south of Cathama , South West Zambia. It is thought the aircraft was hit by ground fire. The crew, pilot Lt Marais and navigator 2nd Lt Doyle, did not survive.
In 1988 the five remaining B(I).12 aircraft were upgraded leading to an improvement in weapons delivery only to be retired from service in November 1990. The aircraft were sold to Peru in 1991.
Notes on Canberra construction numbers:
Almost all 'construction numbers' of English Electric Preston-built machines are known and confirmed. Strictly speaking, the company used no construction numbers, but allocated a number to the forward fuselage. Other companies involved in Canberra production issued a construction number. In the Air Fighters data base, we will continue the use of the term construction number. All Canberra B(I).12 construction numbers are prefixed 'EEP' followed by a 5-digit number in the 71... range.
- Country of Origin:
- First Flight:
- Initial Service Date:
- No. Built:
- No. In Service:
- No. of Hardpoints: