The US Air Force Fiscal Year 2018 defense budget request has been published, and it confirms what I wrote here and elsewhere in March. "We plan to keep the U-2 well into the future - there is no retirement date," said Maj Gen Jim Martin, the Air Force deputy assistant secretary for budget. "We need … Continue reading IT’S OFFICIAL – NO RETIREMENT!
The Accident Investigation Board report into the crash of TU-2S 80-1068 on 20 September last year is available online, from the Scribd website. It shows, once again, why U-2 pilots must be more careful when flying this jet, than any other in the US military inventory. In this case, misfortune turned to tragedy when the … Continue reading U-2 TRAINER CRASH REPORT
As I noted in DRAGON LADY TODAY, the already-super performance of the radar imaging system on the U-2 could be significantly enhanced by upgrading it with an Active Electronically-Scanned Antenna (AESA). In fact, a test program to do just that is underway. But it has been slowed by budgetary restrictions. And because the U-2 is … Continue reading U-2 RADAR IMAGING COULD BE EVEN BETTER
I wrote an Op-Ed piece for the BREAKING DEFENSE website a couple of weeks ago. It attracted lots of comments. The debate continues... http://breakingdefense.com/2017/03/u-2-expert-says-global-hawk-just-cant-compare/
I heard some good news - unofficially - and wrote this story for Aviation International News, where I am the Defense Editor: http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2017-03-20/reprieve-likely-u-2-dragon-lady Nothing is confirmed until the full President's Budget for defense in Fiscal Year 2018 is published in a few weeks' time. That budget will also include (as usual), a forecast for spending … Continue reading REPRIEVE LIKELY FOR U-2 DRAGON LADY
This week’s tragic accident at Beale AFB should not be allowed to influence the debate, about whether the U-2 should remain in service. That debate continues, and will come to a head in the spring of next year, after the DoD’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request is published. As things stand, the Dragon Lady fleet … Continue reading U-2 CRASH SHOULD NOT INFLUENCE RETIREMENT DEBATE
Next Friday 6th May, the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron will celebrate its 40th Anniversary, with a crew chief competition and an open house. The Blackcat squadron keeps three U-2s at Osan airbase in Korea, from where one of them takes off most days to monitor the reclusive but aggressive North Korean regime, and other situations in … Continue reading 40 YEARS OF THE BLACK CAT SQUADRON (v2)