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The Canberra has by far the longest career of any post war military aircraft, the first example flying in 1949, the RAF will still be using the photo reconnaisence version for some time yet, the aeroplane in this case being much older than the majority of its pilots. Conceived as a light bomber relying on speed and altitude for protection in the tradition of the De Haviland Mosquito it was an immediate success, and like the Mosquito it proved remarkably amenable to modification to other roles. The final production version of the Canberra, the specialised photo reconnaissance Canberra PR9 was finally retired from RAF service in July 2006.