Click to Enlarge Three of the Canberras of 'B' Flight of 106 Squadron, IP-990 , IF-901 and P-1098 undergoing checks at Agra. Pic Courtesy: Simon Watson

 

October  , 2001: Air Forces Monthly Magazine's Feburary 2002 issue has a feature on the IAF's longest serving aircraft, The Canberra which is being operated by 106 SPR Squadron at Agra.

Editor Alan Warnes accompanied by Photographer/Historians Phil Camp and Simon Watson visited Agra and spent time with the Canberra Unit which is engaged in "Survey" Work. The Unit has a flight with atleast twelve Canberras, out of which currently four of them are in flying condition , with the others undergoing overhauls.

Phil had given information on the following aircraft still flying around with the Squadron.

Serial No Variant Status
IF-901 B(I) 58 Flying   TT Conversion
-NA- B(I) 58 Ex-35 Sqn ECM aircraft
-NA- B(I) 58 Ex-35 Sqn ECM aircraft
BQ-774 T.4 -
-NA- T.4 -
Q-1791 TT.418 -
Q-1793 TT.418 Flying
-NA- TT.418 -
IP-990 PR.57 Flying
-NA- PR.57 -
P-1098 PR.67 Flying
P-1099 PR.67 -

Airforces Monthly has some excellent pictures on IF-901, IP-990, P-1098 and Q-1793 and has provided many details about the Squadron and its activity. This is the same squadron that had one of its Canberras hit by a Stinger over Kargil in May 1999. The Pilot, Sqn Ldr A Perumal then sucessfully flew the damaged aircraft back on one engine to Srinagar airfield. The aircraft was subsequently repaired and flown.

B(I)58 Taking off from Agra (Photo Copyright: Alan Warnes) IF-901 pictured taking off here is one of the only three B(I)58s still in operational service with the IAF. Pic Courtesy: Alan Warnes / Air Forces Monthly

While currently only four are of flying condition, work is going on with the remaining Canberras to bring them back to flying status. The Canberras have in the year 2000 earned the distinction of being the longest serving aircraft type with the Indian Air Force, beating the record of the Douglas Dakota C-47. The type is expected to be in service for atleast another five to six years.

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