British Reconnaissance Aircraft of the 1970s and ‘80s
Authored by Chris Goss, this is the tenth volume in the Historic Military Aircraft Series, and the fourth devoted to British combat aircraft of the 1970’s and 80’s, the twenty years which signified the final twenty of The Cold War. Goss treats the four major British recon aircraft separately with their own chapters: the Canberra, Gannet, Nimrod and Shackleton. The book is super illustrated with color photographs of each type and concise tables listing the variants produced: the Gannet with seven, the Nimrod with six, the Shackleton with five, and the Canberra with a whopping fourteen. If there’s a drawback to Goss’s work, it’s that the colors in some of the book’s photographs are slightly muted, typical of the film used in that time. but they’re still accurately portrayed and plenty detailed for the scale modeler to use.
His research is outstanding and includes the tenure of each of the operational units flying each type aircraft during the 20-year period. His research is also pretty remarkable in the disposition of the majority of each aircraft pictured in the book. Whether broken up, in museums, scrapped, in private hands, gate guardians, destroyed in a crash, or otherwise disposed of. Goss has documented the majority of his photographed aircraft with their history and final dispositions.
Apparently the nose sections of Canberras are highly prized items for collectors because several of the pictured aircraft in the book have their “business ends” in private hands.
I was happy to be able to review this work because (a) I have an inherent interest in RAF and RN aircraft, and (b) so many different missions are carried out by reconnaissance aircraft and they border on the “sly and spy” categories. The fighters fight, the attackers attack, etc., but their missions are pretty specific. Reconnaissance aircraft tend to engender different variants, plus different sensors, shapes, antennae, and other features, which make them all unique. As a modeler, this book is right up my alley to be able to have good color photos of these types, their details and their descriptions, all in one concise reference.
Highly recommended book with lots of historical information and lots of modeling data. My thanks to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.