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Designation: B-57E

Martin B-57E

Martin B-57E Canberra

A picture of the Martin B-57E Canberra

The B-57 is one of only two major combat aircraft of foreign design adopted for use by the United States military since the end of World War II.  The first British built Canberra arrived in the United States in 1951 and U.S. built aircraft began flying two years later.  The B-57E version of the plane was the first aircraft in the U.S. inventory specifically built for towing aerial targets.  All combat equipment was replaced with the cables and reels needed to tow the large targets used in aerial gunnery practice.  The B-57E could be converted to a bomber and a number of them were converted to replace combat loses in Vietnam.  Two aircraft were also converted to act as airborne relays for real-time video reconnaissance over Vietnam.  While the system, code named, “Compass Site” was successful it was never deployed to Vietnam.

Wingspan 64 ft


Length 65 ft 6 in.


Height 15 ft 7 in.


Weight 55,000 lbs (loaded)


Max. Speed 582 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 48,000 ft

Service Ceiling

Range 2,300 miles


Engines Two Wright J56-W-5 turbojets with 7,200 pounds of thrust


Crew 2



363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Shaw AFB, South Carolina, 1970

Serial Number


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