"A Bucket of Sunshine" - a term used for the use of a nuclear bomb - is a firsthand insight into life in the mid-1960s on a RAF Canberra nuclear-armed squadron in West Germany on the frontline in the Cold War. Mike Brookes describes not only the technical aspect of the aircraft and its nuclear and conventional roles and weapons, but also majors on the low-level flying that went with the job of being ready to go to war at less than three minutes notice. Brooke tells his story warts and all, with many amusing overtones, in what was an extremely serious business when the world was standing on the brink of nuclear conflict. The English-Electric Canberra was a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers in the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 feet. Due to its ability to evade early interceptors and providing a significant performance advancement over piston-engine bombers, the Canberra was a popular export product and served with many nations.
Although jet powered, the Canberra design philosophy was very much in the Mosquito mould, providing room for a substantial bomb load, fitting two of the most powerful engines available, and wrapping it in the most compact and aerodynamic package possible. Rather than devote space and weight to defensive armament, the Canberra was designed to fly fast and high enough to avoid air-to-air combat entirely.
Publisher: The History Press Ltd