U-2 (Dragon Lady) on the runway at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates • October 12, 2017
Air Force photo courtesy Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr
The U-2 is the USAF’s principal piloted high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. It was developed and manufactured by Lockheed Skunk Works. The U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is viewed as both a national and a tactical asset, providing critical intelligence to political decision makers and theatre commanders.
It is capable of collecting multi-sensors photo, electro-optical, infra-red and radar imagery, as well as signals intelligence gathering.
Approximately 85 aircraft were built. Currently 35 of these are in active service, thinly spread to meet worldwide contingencies, even despite the advent of surveillance satellites.
The Lockheed U-2 made its maiden flight in 1955
The U-2 remains in front-line service more than 60 years after its first flight
Primary function: high-altitude reconnaissance
Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics
Power plant: one General Electric F118-101 engine
Thrust: 17,000 pounds
Wingspan: 105 feet (32 meters)
Length: 63 feet (19.2 meters)
Height: 16 feet (4.8 meters)
Weight: 16,000 pounds
Maximum takeoff weight: 40,000 pounds (18,000 kilograms)
Fuel capacity: 2,950 gallons
Payload: 5,000 pounds
Speed: 410 mph
Range: more than 7,000 miles (6,090 nautical miles)
Ceiling: above 70,000 feet (21,212+ meters)
Dakota shared a video on Bristol’s 27th birthday:
For previous Open Threads, click HERE