During the early part of the Cold War, Strategic Air Command (SAC) wanted to know what Capabilitys the Soviet Union had in regards of radar and its numbers of its air force. Due to the growing...
Operation Ju-jitsu the RB45C Tornado in RAF Service.
In the early 50’s POTUS was not keen on up-setting the USSR and forbid USAF aircraft from flying over mainland USSR unless under a state of war. However, the Poms had no such issues, and when Winston Churchill was re-elected after two successive Labour governments had refused, he gave the green light for high level strategic intelligence flights to re-commence.
The USAF had the RB-45C Tornado in England and offered four to the Poms, officially they were leased to the RAF and they carried RAF markings. Crews from 35 and 115 Squadrons manned these aircraft as an interim measure until the new English Electric Canberra’s came available.
In 1952 three of these aircraft departed Germany for the USSR flying at around 36000ft they were tracked by Soviet radar and came under AA fire. The mission was aborted and they three quickly returned to Germany.
That was that last mission by the RAF using the B45 Tornado all subsequent missions were completed using the Canberra. The Canberra could operate at around 54000ft normally but the Poms had a new-fangled invention called water injection and that apparently gave the Canberra extra height as the water injection cooled the engine and allowed it to operate more efficiently and drew in more air giving it more power/lift. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong.
I remember reading an article, the source of which escapes me, of an USAF Officer winging that he was at 35000ft and he could see the contrail of an English plane 30000 above him, which turned out to be a Canberra, why hadn’t the USAF got a plane that could do that.
Well get it they did and it was called the B57 in USAF service but that is the subject of another post.