A U-2 pilot looks down on the Chinese balloon. The shadow of his aircraft can be seen on the balloon's fabric. Intercepting stratospheric balloons is a new mission for the U-2, that proves again just how versatile the Dragon Lady can be – and how essential it is to retain a manned high-altitude reconnaissance capability. … Continue reading THE U-2 AND BALLOONS – SOME HISTORY, AND SOME THOUGHTS
HAIL DRAGONS! U-2 REUNION ATTRACTS A LARGE CROWD
Some 450 people sat down for dinner at the “ReU2nion” that took place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Beale AFB on 6th-9th October. They included myself. It was organized by the Dragon Lady Association (DLA), led by the redoubtable Lt Col (retd) Jon Huggins. Prior events included a visit to Beale AFB … Continue reading HAIL DRAGONS! U-2 REUNION ATTRACTS A LARGE CROWD
329 – MY FAVOURITE U-2
It was the first enlarged and upgraded U-2, back in 1967. And 68-10329 is still is service, with nearly 31,500 flying hours.
LATEST USAF BUDGET – NO END IN SIGHT FOR THE U-2
A reference to the “divestiture” of the U-2 in Fiscal Year 2026, that was contained in last year’s budget request, is missing from the Fiscal Year 2023 request that has just been published. The request envisages continued spending on Dragon Lady upgrades and supportability through Fiscal Year 2027. The Pentagon’s fiscal year begins in the … Continue reading LATEST USAF BUDGET – NO END IN SIGHT FOR THE U-2
“INVISIBLE” U-2 PLAYS ITS PART IN UKRAINE SURVEILLANCE
Many surveillance aircraft have flown near or over Ukraine in recent weeks. You may have seen the maps of their tracks which have appeared on social media, thanks to Flight Radar 24, ADS-B Exchange, and other flight tracking websites. They have included US Air Force E-8 JSTARS, RC-135 Rivet Joints, and RQ-4 Global Hawks; US … Continue reading “INVISIBLE” U-2 PLAYS ITS PART IN UKRAINE SURVEILLANCE
TOWARD THE UNKNOWN – A PATCH REVIVED
US Air Force personnel assigned to The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) are now wearing a unit patch derived from a famous patch worn by U-2 pilots from the late 1950s through the early 1980s. The NGA employs some 14,500 people who exploit and analyze imagery and geospatial information for the US military, other government agencies, … Continue reading TOWARD THE UNKNOWN – A PATCH REVIVED
U-2 RETIREMENT – HERE WE GO AGAIN!
Another budget request, another plan to retire the U-2. But don’t count on it. In the small print of the USAF’s Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) presidential budget request, there is a statement that the Dragon Lady will be “divested” in Fiscal Year 2026. But there is a glaring omission. Unlike previous budget requests, there is … Continue reading U-2 RETIREMENT – HERE WE GO AGAIN!
CLOUDS, CODES AND AI ON “THE PERFECT PLATFORM”
“The U-2 is the perfect platform to drive cutting-edge military technology” said the 9th Wing commander Col Heather Fox. She was referring to recent pioneering U-2 flights that have explored how cloud computing can install innovative software into aircraft that are already airborne, enabling sensors and navigation systems to react quickly to fast-changing threats. The … Continue reading CLOUDS, CODES AND AI ON “THE PERFECT PLATFORM”
A HISTORY OF PRESSURE SUITS
U-2 pilots rely on their pressure suits, which have been developed over many decades
BEALE HIRES CIVILIANS AS U-2 INSTRUCTOR PILOTS
Three very experienced former U-2 pilots have returned to fly again as instructors.