A STUPID TALE ABOUT TAIL NUMBERS

Unmarked 073 at Palmdale Jun15

When Lockheed Martin released this photo of the jet that was testing the Open Mission Systems (OMS) a few months ago, I was intrigued. It had no tail number! That reminded me of the good old days, when both the CIA and the US Air Force pulled similar tricks in the name of security, removing or altering a U-2’s identity in an attempt to fool onlookers about production totals, or movements.

In this case, however, the security goons had not actually made the good folks at Palmdale Site 2 remove any markings. They had requested that the image be altered in Photoshop before release. Unfortunately, they failed to notice that the ‘last three’ of a U-2’s serial number is repeated on the main landing gear door. If you zoom in on that area in the image above, you can determine that the jet’s serial number is 80-1073…

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