Lockheed U-2

related topics
{ship, engine, design}
{service, military, aircraft}
{system, computer, user}
{car, race, vehicle}
{war, force, army}
{film, series, show}
{son, year, death}

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is a single-engine, very high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency. It provides day and night, very high-altitude (70,000 feet / 21,000 meters), all-weather surveillance.[1] The aircraft is also used for electronic sensor research and development, satellite calibration, and satellite data validation.



In the early 1950s, with Cold War tensions on the rise, the U.S. military required better strategic reconnaissance to help determine Soviet capabilities and intentions. The existing surveillance aircraft were primarily bombers converted for reconnaissance duty, vulnerable to anti-aircraft artillery, missiles, and fighters. It was thought an aircraft that could fly at 70,000 feet (21,000 m) would be beyond the reach of Soviet fighters, missiles, and even radar.[2] This would allow "overflights"—knowingly violating a country's airspace—to take aerial photographs.

Under the code name "AQUATONE", the Air Force gave contracts[3] to Bell Aircraft, Martin Aircraft, and Fairchild Engine and Airplane to develop proposals for the new reconnaissance aircraft. Officials at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation heard about the project and asked aeronautical engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson to come up with a design. Johnson was a brilliant designer, responsible for the P-38 Lightning, and the P-80. He was also known for completing projects ahead of schedule, working in a separate division of the company jokingly called the Skunk Works.

Full article ▸

related documents
Space Shuttle program
Space Shuttle Columbia
V-22 Osprey
Bristol Blenheim
AH-1 Cobra
Apollo 11
CH-47 Chinook
Boeing RC-135
Heinkel He 162
Bristol Beaufighter
Boeing 757
Mary Rose
Ground effect in aircraft
IMI Galil
Armoured fighting vehicle
Katyusha rocket launcher
Self-propelled artillery
Lockheed AC-130
RMS Olympic
Trident missile
Hybrid rocket
Browning Hi-Power
Boeing 707
USS Big Horn (AO-45)
SM-65 Atlas