The Canberra AEW.1 is an airborne early warning variant of the Canberra bomber.
HistoryEditAfter the purchase of the Canadian-developed Avro Arrow by the RAF in the late 1960s, it was found that their airborne radar coverage of the UK was frankly not good enough and when Soviet and American bombers began to prod too close within British airspace, a decision was made to take action and remedy the problem.
As a stop-gap, Shackletons were deployed with the Arrow patrols. But these venerable old birds by that point were far too obsolescent for their counterpart Arrows, so another solution was seeked out.
Desperate for a new type that was more capable than the venerable, albeit quite obsolete Avro Shackleton, the RAF took the decision to retrofit mothballed Canberra airframes. Such course was taken because the USA, whom the Commonwealth had become diplomatically estranged with, refused to export their new E-2 Hawkeyes to England.
A heavily modified variant of the AEW radar system carried on board the Fairey Gannet AEW.3 was used, being designated the AN/APS-30. This radar was mounted within a swiveling disc, reminescent of such American aircraft as the E-2 Hawkeye, and the later E-3 Sentry. This disc was suspended above the airframe on dual pylons mounted on top of the engine nacelles. The type also featured, nestled within the rear fuselage, two operators for the radar system. Aerodynamic rebalancing was also required, with fins being mounted on the tips of the horizontal stabilizers.