UNCOVERING ROBIN’S SECRETS

With a 240in lens fitted to an RAF Canberra, Project ‘Robin’ is bestknown for its alleged overflights of the Soviet Union. However, even though many details remain hidden, the increasing amount of information on this audacious aerial reconnaissance effort suggests the truth — so far as can be ascertained — is somewhat more complex

PROJECT ‘ROBIN’

The forward fuselage of Canberra B2 WH726, showing the underwing cutout for the 240in lens. Where this image of the aircraft was taken remains unknown.
ITEK COLLECTION, GOTLIEB RESEARCH CENTER AT BU

The Cold War was decidedly chilly in 1953, and the future extremely uncertain. The death of Josef Stalin was soon followed by unrest in East Berlin and riots in Poland, and all the while the Korean War dragged on. Senior political and military leaders in western Europe and the United States feared that war with the Soviet Union was almost inevitable within a few years.

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