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The UK Biological Warfare Aircraft: Canberra WV787

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posted on Aug, 3 2004 @ 12:50 PM
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I'm looking for pictures of the UK Dual-Use Biological Warfare Aircraft Canberra WV787 that was developed during the 1960s.

I have come across a couple of pictures taken by Les Bywaters but am looking for pictures taken during the late 1960s either at Boscome Down or at Flight Refulling Tarrant Rushton Airfield.

This is a picture taken towards the end of it's career. Although it was then only used in its Icing Research role, the picture does show the spray rake under the aircraft which was also used for Biological Warfare research.



This is a very unique aircraft. The Microbiological Research Establishment Porton Down has gone on record stating that the aircraft was capable of infecting up to 38,000,000 people in the UK, depending on the pathogen used. This sort of coverage would have been achieved with just one flight of this remarkable aircraft.

It can currently be seen at the UK Newark Air Museum.

Ask around and please dig out any old photos.


zero lift




posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 03:35 PM
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This is a very unique aircraft. The Microbiological Research Establishment Porton Down has gone on record stating that the aircraft was capable of infecting up to 38,000,000 people in the UK, depending on the pathogen used. This sort of coverage would have been achieved with just one flight of this remarkable aircraft.

Quite a figure there,



posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 04:09 PM
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WV787 was designed to disseminate a payload of "wet" BW agents which would contaminate an area of 10,000 square miles. Should "dry" biological agents be used the amount of coverage would increase.

The estimate that this contamination could cause up to 38,000,000 people to become infected was made by CDEE Porton Down.
A discussion which first mentions that this huge amount of infection would be caused by a single aircraft flight is found in the minutes of the 48th meeting of the Biological Research Advisory Board July 1960. The technique is called the Large Area Coverage (LAC) concept.

That's why this aircraft is so unique. Just after UK developed the method for the LAC dissemination of BW agents by building this aircraft the UK Government pushed for an anti-Biological warfare proliferation treaty which banned this sort of research.


zero lift


[edit on 7-8-2004 by zero lift]



posted on Aug, 8 2004 @ 05:59 AM
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Originally posted by zero lift

That's why this aircraft is so unique. Just after UK developed the method for the LAC dissemination of BW agents by building this aircraft the UK Government pushed for an anti-Biological warfare proliferation treaty which banned this sort of research.


[edit on 7-8-2004 by zero lift]


Thats joined up government for you



posted on Aug, 9 2004 @ 04:48 AM
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Good find, I did not know the UK had ever created special purpose biowarfare planes. Any idea on how many they made?



posted on Aug, 9 2004 @ 06:24 PM
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FredT wrote


Good find, I did not know the UK had ever created special purpose biowarfare planes. Any idea on how many they made?


They only made the one development aircraft...WV787. By the time that Porton Down put the aircraft through it's workup trials, the UK Polaris submarines were coming online. This meant that the UK would no longer need to reply to a BW attack "in kind".....it would now reply with a nuclear response.
Also, because experiments had revealed that the UK was extremely vulnerable to BW attack it was decided that a policy of non proliferation would be adopted which meant the end of this kind of BW research.

The aircraft abandoned it's BW research role and continued in service with the RAF as an Icing Tanker research aircraft for the next 10 years.


zero lift



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 06:12 PM
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Originally posted by zero lift
The aircraft abandoned it's BW research role and continued in service with the RAF as an Icing Tanker research aircraft for the next 10 years.
zero lift


That pretty cool if you watch it. I was watching a show on the development of the GE engines for the 777 and they took the plane up and flew behind a KC-135 that had been modified for icing testing. It pumps water out of a nozzle attached to the boom and sends a steady stream of ice into the intake of the turbine flying below it to see how the engine does.



posted on Aug, 10 2004 @ 06:17 PM
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B-57'S are pretty cool. They were used alot during Vietnam. I can remember being in Boy Scouts and going for a night orienteering hike on the Smokey Hill Air Force Bombing Range in Kansas in the early seventies. RB-57'S would fly over and drop photoflash flares which totally killed our night vision and gave us JUMBO headaches.



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 03:45 PM
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FredT, I spoke to a pilot who had flown WV787 while it was at Boscombe Down, and he informed me that during the late 1960s-early 1970s Icing Tanker research aircraft developed a technique which would cause certain types of aircraft to crash. This involved spraying a certain mixture of particles in suspension many miles ahead of and above the target aircraft. He stated that a large amount of this work was carried out at Suffield Canada.


zero lift



posted on Aug, 11 2004 @ 08:48 PM
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Originally posted by zero lift
FredT, I spoke to a pilot who had flown WV787 while it was at Boscombe Down, and he informed me that during the late 1960s-early 1970s Icing Tanker research aircraft developed a technique
zero lift


Intersting. I just saw a show on the Bremuda Triangle that postulated that large clouds of Methane may have taken all those planes down. Any idea of the range? I could see missiles armed with the stuff laying down say a picket line over the pole to prevent a strike force from getting close. Great Find Zero Lift.

Thats what I love about ATS, its like a parallel computer. Everybody doing a little digging, who knows what we might unearth!



posted on Oct, 17 2004 @ 08:21 PM
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The UK Imperial War Museum has a film of this aircraft in the IWM Film and Video Archive. It is available for viewing at the museum on request.

Film Number:
MTE 3482 Film Title: CANBERRA TANKER AIRBORNE ICING FACILITIES [Main]
[MINISTRY OF TECHNOLOGY COLLECTION] [Allocated Series]

Production Date: 1972 (ca)
Production Country:
GB

Notes:
Canberra Icing Tanker Aircraft WV 787 was a unique dual function plane, used by Boscombe Down Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) scientists to investigate methods of de-icing civilian and military aircraft and by the Microbiological Research Establishment (MRE) at Porton Down for biological warfare research. Converted by Flight Refuelling of Dorset, WV 787 carried out live bacterial suspension experiments at Tarrant Rushton Airfield, Dorset during 1967. See INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE POSSIBLE HEALTH HAZARDS OF THE LARGE-SCALE RELEASE OF BACTERIA DURING THE DORSET DEFENCE TRIALS by Professor Brian G. Spratt FRS (www.mod.uk...)


zero lift



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