Jayesh Awad
Department / Branch-Second Year B.Pharmacy Sem III
Year : 2021-22

The English electric company was found after world war one in 1918 and it made many things but the best thing it made is English electric Canberra. Yes, I am talking about the massive aircraft which is one of the many jewels in the crown of our AlSSMS society which is fondly remembered by the locals as a landmark to identify the college. It was given the name “Canberra” after the capital of Australia in January 1950 by Sir George Nelson owner of this company. In the 1950s it was like an eagle who could fly at a higher altitude than any other plane at that time and set the world record. Canberra played a very important role in the wars we studied in our secondary boards i.e. Vietnam war and the Indo-Pak war.

Canberra served for more than 50 glorious years and got retired 57 years after its first flight. There were a total of 1352 Canberra aircraft, which were made in 27 versions with the highest speed of 930km/hr. One of the many best things about Canberra is it was not only a fighter jet but it was often converted into drones for reconnaissance purposes suiting cameras and other equipment in it. One of the interesting facts about Canberra is that its early prototype was operated by one of the best car company i.e. Rolls – Royce. and it can hold bombs of weight 4500 kg.

Canberra was the backbone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) for bombing raids and photo reconnaissance for many decades. It entered IAF in 1954. The Canberra aircraft was the most advanced fighter plane used by the Indian Air force during Goa-Portuguese conflicts, Belgian-Congo disputes and the 1965 Indo- Pak war. The interesting thing is that during the Indo- Pakistani War of the 1960s and 1970s, Canberra was used by both sides. The most audacious use of the bomber was in the “Raid on Badin” during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, when the IAF sent in Canberra to attack a critical Pakistani radar post in West Pakistan. On 21 May 1999, prior to the commencement of the Kargil War, the IAF Air HQ assigned a Canberra aircraft on a photographic mission near the Line of Control, where it took a severe blow from an FIM-92 Stinger infrared homing missile on the starboard engine and yet the Canberra successfully returned to the base using the other engine. The entire IAF Canberra fleet was grounded and then retired following the crash of an IAF Canberra in December 2005. After 50 years of service, Canberra was finally retired by the IAF on 11 May 2007.

Indian Canberra squadrons of the 1965 Indo–Pak war were rewarded with four Mahavir Chakras, a dozen Vir Chakras, numerous Gallantry awards, and service awards for military Efficiency. There are 5 Canberra displayed in India at present, 2 of which are present in Pune itself. One is on display at the Shree Shivaji preparatory military school, Pune, and the second is at Mohegan air station (but it’s not open to the public).

So the huge statue of Canberra fighter plane placed in our All India Shri Shivaji Memorial Society’s College premice holds a magnificent history and heritage. It symbolizes freedom, hard work, respect and sacrifice. So now every time we will see it we will remember its Unmeasurable work for our country.