astral From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 214 posts, RR: 0 Posted (11 months 1 week 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 4236 times:
This is a rather rare photo of Canberra PR9 (XH134) on a mission staged through RAF Kai Tak Hong Kong in 1982. One very interesting thing is that belly pod, which is like the shape of the gun pod on B9(1)8 bombers. It was to be sure not a gun pod, and may be using the same pod but with electronic equipments inside.
astral From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 214 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (11 months 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 4097 times:
I took the photo in October 82, but don't have the exact date now. This photo was not allowed to released until last year as I was under the Security Act restriction.
The Canberra mission to China, usually would have the aircraft came in very early morning or mid-day from a Country SW of Hong Kong. It would then refuelled and off for a 3-4 hours mission, return for fuel, crew debriefed, and then took off back to that Country. The aircraft as far as I can recall, never overnight in Hong Kong.
astral From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 214 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3841 times:
Two more on the same side (starboard) and slightly more to the left. The GPU cart blocked the view of the pod in that two photos, but clearly shown the reg. 134 on the front nose gear door. Another one with XH134 landing very late in the day, a kind of dark and not too clear.
I was not allowed to photograph on the port side as it would show the details of the NV station. I did got up close to the NV seat to look, and there were two scopes one on each side with covers on, plus lots of switches on panels on both walls.
wb556 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2011, 29 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3799 times:
If there is an way you could post those 3 pics I would be grateful, it's always nice to filling some blanks in the history. The side pics would be great as the aircraft seems to be missing some of its normal squadron markings.
astral From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 214 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 3791 times:
I will do that later tonight or tomorrow.
FYI the Canberra PR9 missions staged through RAF Kai Tak Hong Kong never overflew China. It skirt along the international air space boarding China, westward as far as Hainan Island. So far I can tell you is that the 'information' gained was shared with USA, and these were combined photographic as well as electronic missions.
I recall the same XH134 flew in and out of HKG three times within a 10 days period in 1982. I was told by my friends in HKG that hemp coloured PR9 also took similar missions in early 90s (92, 93 ??).
I was wondering what is that belly pod was for all these years, but can't ask !! However someone told me that System III was internally mounted and not in a pod, as it was a camera system with windows. So we need more 'light' to shine on this mystery pod if it is really a System III, a fuel tank ? or what ?
BTW I can't recall any squadron marking on this PR9, and it is not surprising that it didn't carry any on such kind of mission.
astral From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 214 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (11 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3752 times:
Here is the other side view of XH134 at RAF Kai Tak. As you can see there was no squadron marking on it at all, and the number 134 was on the nose gear door. The aircraft was parked at a remote ramp in between RAF Kai Tak main ramp and HAECO, actually closer to HAECO.
astral From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 214 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (11 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3603 times:
OK, do it tonight.
I think the reason why they parked the PR9 on that remote area was because the HAECO hangers would block the view from outside Kai Tak. Unless you were on the RAF Kai Tak side, you would not be able to see the PR9 that easy. The RAF Kai Tak ramp area was rather open, and without tall building to hide anything from 'viewers' on higher floors of those tall buildings around outside the base.
I still think that belly pod was not a System III. I've done some research on it and System III was an internal fit unit with three camera windows (1 vertical 2 oblique). There was no such windows visible around that belly pod, so I can only conclude it housed some kind of antenna for electronic equipments. Using the same gun pod shape would not have any aerodynamic problem, and can easily get cleared for flight.
When I took the photos, the RAF Regiment guard (unarmed) was next to me watching, and gave me five minutes to take the photos. I can only shot three photos because not only short of time, but also running out of film, as K64 slide was very expensive at that time !