Avro LANCASTER MP
The RCAF was a large postwar user of the Avro Lancaster Mk X built by Victory Aircraft at Malton, Ontario. The pattern aircraft R5727, complete with ventral guns, arrived in Toronto in August of 1942 and by 1945 Canadian production totaled 430 aircraft. The aircraft were structurally identical to their British brothers, with the exception of the engines, US built Packard Merlins, Hamilton airscrews and avionics.
The main problem for Canadian Lancasters was the cold in the which the aircraft would be operating. KB738, KB954 and FM148 were subjected to rigorus cold weather trials from 1946 through 1950 at the Winter Experiment Establishment (WEE). The result was that the Lancasters were cleared , with some minor modifications, to operate in temperatures of -40C, at -51C the canopies cracked.
Over 3.5 million square miles of Canada's north was mosaically photographed by Lancasters of Nos. 408 and 413 Squadrons. Lancaster replacement began in the mid 1950's with the arrival of the Lockheed Neptune in the Maritime Reconnaissance role but they remained in service until April 1, 1964 when the last three Lancasters of No. 408 Goose squadron were retired from service.
Avro Lancaster Mk 10 MP (RCAF Photo)
Canadian Lancaster sub-types were as follows:
- Lancaster Mk 10AR
- Arctic Reconnaissance version with a lengthened nose and additional radar and camera equipment.
- Lancaster Mk 10BR
- Bomber Reconnaissance duties
- Lancaster Mk 10DC
- Two aircraft were converted for drone-carrying trials with the Ryan Firebee drones.
- Lancaster Mk 10MR/MP
- Initially know as MR for maritime reconnaissance work, the designation was later changed to MP for maritime patrol duties.
- Lancaster Mk 10N
- These aircraft were converted to flying classrooms for trainee navigators.
- Lancaster Mk 10O
- A flying test-bed with two Orenda turbojets mounted in the outer engine nacelles.
- Lancaster Mk 10P
- Nine aircraft were modified for photographic reconnaissance mapping duties.
- Lancaster Mk 10S
- The designation 'standard' was allocated to Lancasters for museum or display purposes and also to aircraft held in storage which were used to supply spares for active aircraft.
- Lancaster Mk 10SR
- Eight aircraft were converted for air-sea rescue duties.
- Lancaster Mk 10U
- Aircraft held in storage which were unmodified for any specific role. Replacement aircraft could be drawn from this stock and converted as necessary.
- Lancaster Mk XPP
- Civilian designation allocated to the six aircraft for Trans Canada Airlines.