Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA6903 Lockheed U-2S Dragon Lady, 80-1074. Fairford AB, 2014

In 1954 Lockheed received approval to produce a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The creation of this aircraft went to Lockheed’s Skunk Works and the famous Kelly Johnson. The aircraft, a single-engine jet that could provide images day or night over Soviet territory, was labeled U-2 (U=utility) and given the name “Dragon Lady”. The first test flight took place in 1955 and was used by the CIA and the USAF during the Cold War. The U-2 came to international notoriety in 1960 when one piloted by Gary Power was shot down over the Soviet Union.

The USAF has deployed the U-2 from the 9th RW at Beale AFB to Fairford AB in Gloucestershire England to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. This move demonstrates the U.S. commitment to allies in the region. U-2 80-1074 was built in 1984 as TR-1A and underwent the PLSS program, transferred to 17th RW in 1990. In 1992 the aircraft was transferred to the 9th RW and in 1996 was reconfigured as a U-2S. This aircraft had taken part in “Operation Desert Storm”.

Specifications for the Lockheed U-2R/S Dragon Lady
Manufacturer – Lockheed Skunk Works
Number Produced or Converted – 104
Role – High-altitude Reconnaissance
Crew – 1
First Deployment Date U-2R – 1967 U-2S - 1994
Length U-2R – 63 ft U-2S – 63 ft Wingspan U-2R – 103 ft U-2S – 103 ft
Empty U-2R – 14,900 lbs U-2S – 16,000 lbs Maximum Take-off U-2R – 41,000 lbs U-2S – 41,000 lbs
Powerplant U-2R – P7W J75-P-13B Thrust – 17,000 lbst U-2R – GE F-118-101 Thrust – 19,000 lbst
U-2R – 80,000 ft U-2S – 90,000 ft Range U-2R – 3,500 miles U-2S – 4,600 miles