I was pleased to visit the U-2 Branch within the C2ISR Division at Robins AFB, GA recently. It is from here that the Air Force sustains the Dragon Lady, thanks to some 70 people who write the contracts, manage the spare parts, and support new developments in the program. Most of them are government or … Continue reading MANAGING THE U-2 AT ROBINS AFB
The Global Hawk is still under-performing, and formal testing of the extensive improvements that have been ordered, won’t take place until Fiscal Year 2018. This information comes from the 2015 annual report by the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), Michael Gilmore. He notes that the multi-year upgrade and modernization program for the … Continue reading GLOBAL HAWK: $3.5 BILLION OF IMPROVEMENTS AWAITED
U-2 pilots are a select breed. It’s a volunteer assignment, and to be accepted, candidates must pass two weeks of interviews at the 9th Recon Wing, Beale AFB, and fly three times in a U-2ST trainer commanded by one of the instructor pilots of the 1st Recon Squadron. I describe what it’s like to become … Continue reading WHO WILL BE U-2 PILOT NUMBER 1,000 ?
This has been a big year for U-2 history. The 60th anniversary of the first flight was celebrated in three well-attended reunions, and the aircraft was featured in the Hollywood movie “Bridge of Spies”, which is now on general release. I’ve just seen Stephen Spielberg’s version of how American lawyer James Donovan secured the release … Continue reading THE U-2 – HOBBLED BY HISTORY?
This is Washington-speak for the plan to replace the U-2 with the Global Hawk. I wrote plenty on that perennial topic in DRAGON LADY TODAY. But here’s the latest. The Air Force finally sent the High Altitude ISR Transition Plan to the US Congress last month. I hear it doesn’t read well. That’s probably because … Continue reading THE HIGH ALTITUDE TRANSITION
This is another story that I wrote as part of my 'day job' as defense editor of AVIATION INTERNATIONAL NEWS. You can find it here.
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 … Continue reading A STUPID TALE ABOUT TAIL NUMBERS