The British-designed Canberra was a record-breaking aircraft in its heyday during the 1950s, and was operated by many air forces, including those of Australia and New Zealand.

Originally developed late in World War Two, the Canberra could fly higher than any other bomber at the time and set a new record for the fastest flight from England to New Zealand during the London to Christchurch International Air Race in 1953. The RNZAF operated 13 Canberra B(I).12 aircraft between 1959 and 1970. They arrived in New Zealand straight from the factory in England and were all based at Ohakea. The RNZAF Canberras saw active service in the Indonesian-Malaysian Confrontation between 1964 and 1966, operating from Singapore and Borneo. When replaced by the A-4 Skyhawk in 1970, all 13 aircraft were sold to the Indian Air Force.