The sign accompanying the aircraft. It reads
The U-2 is today regarded as one of the most technically
remarkable aircraft ever deployed by the U.S. Air Force.
The U-2 is today regarded as one of the most technically remarkable aircraft
ever deployed by the U.S. Air Force. Its development in 1954 was shrouded in
great secrecy, since its primary role was strategic reconnaissance. Designed
to fly for long periods at very high altitudes, the U-2 is essentially a
powered glider with a sail-plane-like wing and lightweight structure.
The U-2's first test flight was in 1955, and it began service in 1957. The
aircraft was designed and used for high-altitude communications intelligence
and electronic intelligence and was capable of day or night all-weather
surveillance. The U-2 has been outfitted with an array of cameras, electronic
intelligence equipment and radar-homing and warning systems, depending on its
mission. U-2 aircraft played an instrumental role in detecting Soviet
intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis
The U-2 "Dragon Lady" gained notoriety when one -- flown by Francis Gary
Powers, a former SAC F-84 pilot -- was shot down during an intelligence
gathering mission over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960.
Soviet surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) were first detected by a SAC U-2 aircraft
on April 5, 1965, in North Vietnam. By year's end USAF and USN aircraft had
pinpointed 56 of these SA-2 SAM sites.
This reconnaissance aircraft has seen duty throughout the Cold War in Europe,
the Soviet Union and Vietnam and during Desert Shield/Desert Storm in the
Persian Gulf. After Desert Storm, all TR-1 reconnaissance aircraft were
About This U-2C
Nicknamed "The Saint" during its service with the Air Force's thunderstorm
research program, this U-2C (SN 56-6701) also served with the Central
Intelligence Agency and the 9th and 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wings. The
aircraft has been converted from a U-2A to a U-2B, and finally to a U-2C model
for the 100th SRW in 1968. It was dropped from the inventory and flown to the
SAC Museum in 1982.
This aircraft is on loan from the U.S. Air Force Museum Program.
Specifications of the U-2C
Mission: Long-range, high-altitude strategic reconnaissance
Range: 3,000 mi
Years of service: 1957-1992
Years with SAC: 1957-1992
Number built: 53
Number assigned to SAC: Approximately 35
Power Plant: 1 Pratt & Whitney J75-P-13 turbojet, 17,000-lb static
Weight, empty: 11,700 lb
Weight, loaded: 16,000 lb
Maximum take-off weight, loaded: 17,270 lb
Maximum speed: 528 MPH
Cruising speed: 460 MPH
Service ceiling: 85,000 ft
Fuselage length: 49' 7"