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Fly high and spy

The newest generation an American Icon

© by Lockheed Martin / YouTube

Source | Lockheed Martin / YouTube | 06 April 2024 1 minute
Quite a few things have changed since the U-2 program was established in 1955 in response to the Soviet Union’s growing military strength. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the construction of a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. To reduce the danger of conflict, Eisenhower entrusted this mission to a civilian agency, the CIA. From 1954 to 1974, overhead reconnaissance was one of CIA’s most important missions. Lockheed was entrusted with this aircraft and designed the U-2 to be flown by a single pilot at very high altitudes of up to 70,000 feet a subsonic speed. The pilots had to undergo a difficult training and were also faced with several dangers. Because of the high speed and altitude, pilots had to keep the aircraft at a slightly nose-up position to prevent the plane from gaining dramatic speed – an event that could ultimately lead to the aircraft breaking apart. But that was then. The U-2 program has been significantly upgraded since: a larger airframe, modern sensors and communication hardware, a new more powerful and fuel-efficient engine and so on. Today, the U-2S serves as the most capable, reliable and survivable ISR platform available. The current U-2 R models are being re-engined and will be designated as a U-2S/ST. For more please check out