After the Korean War began in 1950, the U.S. Air Force looked for a jet-powered medium bomber to quickly replace the aging, propeller-driven Douglas B-26 Invader. In March 1951 the USAF contracted with Martin to build the British Canberra in the United States under license. The Martin-built B-57 made its first flight in July 1953, and when production ended in 1959, a total of 403 Canberras had been produced for the USAF.
In 1965 the USAF sent two B-57B squadrons to South Vietnam. Until the last B-57B departed in November 1969, the 8th and 13th Bomb Squadrons flew many different types of missions, including close air support and night interdiction, in all combat areas in Southeast Asia.
The aircraft on display was assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as a test aircraft in the early 1960s. It was returned to combat configuration to replace combat losses in Southeast Asia. Assigned to the 8th Bomb Squadron at Phan Rang, South Vietnam, in 1967, it flew in combat there for 2 1/2 years. After returning to the United States, it was converted to an electronic countermeasures EB-57B. It was flown to the museum in August 1981, and restored back to its Southeast Asia War bomber configuration in 2010.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Eight .50-cal. M3 machine guns or four 20mm M39 cannons and approx. 7,500 lbs. maximum of internal and external stores Engines: Two Wright J65-W-5 turbojets of 7200 lbs. static thrust each Maximum speed: 570 mph Cruising speed: 450 mph Range: 2,000 miles Ceiling: 49,000 ft. Span: 64 ft. Length: 65 ft. 6 in. Height: 15 ft. 6 in. Weight: 58,800 lbs. maximum