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
U-2 Dragon Lady
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.
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”
ARCTIC DRAGONS MAKE FAIRFORD THEIR HOME
It is now one year since the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron (ERS) began to move from Al Dhafra airbase in the UAE to RAF Fairford in the UK. Since last November, the squadron has been busy flying operational missions in an eastward direction. The usual sensor fit is the ASARS imaging radar plus the ASIP … Continue reading ARCTIC DRAGONS MAKE FAIRFORD THEIR HOME