Feb 28, 2014
Lockheed Martin starts campaign to save U-2S fleet
With the US Air Force's U-2S fleet facing a threatened early retirement in 2015, Lockheed Martin has finally gone on the defensive to save one of its landmark programmes from replacement by the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk.
Lockheed’s U-2 programme director, says the U-2S is the only high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft that can perform the mission based on the USAF’s requirements.
Although the fleet is often confused, the 32 active U-2S "Senior Year" aircraft and TU-2S trainers operated by the USAF today bear little resemblance to the original reconnaissance fleet delivered to the US Central Intelligence Agency in the late 1950s.
Current U-2 fleet was between 1982 and 1989, and were subsequently upgraded with a new engine. USAF has been upgrading U-2Ssince 1993. Up to 10 aircraft in the U-2S fleet were upgraded in 2013 with a new communications gateway payload.