Canberra XH134

Canberra XH134
Picture courtesy of Tom Williams

English Electric Canberra PR9 XH134 (G-OMHD)

Built as SH.1724 under contract 6/ACFT/14027/CB6 (a), to standard 9/Y/1. XH134 first flew on 9th October 1959 and served exclusively with the Royal Air Force until July 2006. The aircraft is one of twenty three built by the Short Brothers in Belfast during 1958 – 1959.

XH134 has served on tours with 13 Sqn, 39(1 PRU) Sqn and 58 Sqns. In the early part of its life, it was used by the RAF for trials work including a period at Boscombe Down, the military flight test establishment.

XH134 was one of five aircraft selected for a complete refurbishment in the early 1980s, which included the installation of advance American surveillance equipment and a data link system, as used in the Lockheed U2. These systems were highly regarded, making it a prized asset during several conflicts from Somalia in the 1990s through to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The aircraft was retired from service on 31st July 2006 and flown to Kemble airfield with a total of 9281:20 airframe hours and 4556 landings. The aircraft was privately purchased and placed under the care of Delta Jets Ltd. Following an extensive restoration and modification programme by C2 Aviation Ltd, the aircraft flew for the first time since 2006 in July 2013 at the Royal International Air Tattoo. The aircraft has subsequently been sprayed in the Midair Squadron silver livery, appearing for the first time in this guise at the Goodwood Revival in September 2013.

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