Project ROBIN was an example of UK-US air intelligence co-operation during the Cold War. It involved the RAF flying a stripped-down Canberra B2 (serial WH726) to the USA to be fitted with a very long focal length camera known as the bomb camera. This used a mirror system to allow a camera with 240-inch focal length to be fitted into a 10-foot long cylinder mounted obliquely in the aircraft's bomb bay. The camera was designed to enable long range oblique photography to be taken whilst flying the Canberra along the border of the Soviet zones of occupation in Europe. The camera was reported to be so powerful that during a test flight over the English Channel off the coast of Dover, clear photographs were taken of St Paul's Cathedral, 75 miles away in central London.
After ministerial permission for the missions was given, photographs were taken of targets in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet zones of Germany and Austria. The method employed on these peripheral intelligence collection flights involved flying the Canberra on a southerly course (the camera pointed out of a port-facing window) at approximately 42,000 feet on a course 10 to 40 miles inside the British or American zones of occupation. A second aircraft flew alongside the ROBIN aircraft to watch for condensation trails, which could reveal the aircraft's position.
Project ROBIN sorties were declassified in 2004 and photography was released by the UK Ministry of Defence, not only of East Germany, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia but also of Cyprus, Egypt, France, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.