Three Generations of Stealth
The first generation of the Lockheed Martin U-2 was created in 1955 and was labeled U-2A. It was developed to allow the U.S. a glimpse into the Soviet Union. It was in direct response to the Soviet’s development of the Myasishchev M-4 bomber (“Hammer”) and the alleged bomber gap. President Eisenhower called for designs of a stealth aircraft that could fly near and over Soviet airspace without the risk of being shot down. It was developed by a team of Lockheed Martin employees called Skunk Works. The U-2A was revolutionary for its time being able to fly at altitudes of 70,000 feet and for fly for 3000 miles. It had a payload of 700 pounds of the latest photoreconnaissance equipment. Shortly...
The U-2S Dragon Lady has an operating ceiling higher than 70,000 feet. The U-2S can climb to an altitude of 50,000 feet in just 20 minutes and 65,000 feet within an hour. The Dragon Lady also can take off in any weather conditions. The flight range is larger than 7,000 miles. The U-2S has a cruise speed of 475 miles per hour. It has a payload of interchangeable reconnaissance and intelligence sensors and platforms that weigh up to 5,000 pounds. The U-2S is matte black because it is rumored to have radar absorbing paint. The U-2S has many different configurations it can fly with to support its missions. In the picture on the cover page, the black pods or “super-pods” as they are called, are used for carrying intelligence surveillance equipment. They can host a variety of different cameras, sensors, as well as different data-links. The main sensors and equipment that are housed in these super-pods are in support of COMINT, SIGINT, and ELINT. The U-2S can also be configured with various sets of antennas that can communicate with ground forces. Another configuration that the U-2S can run is the ASARS-2 or Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System. This system is capable of locating moving and stationary ground targets. It is also able to produce extremely accurate images at long ranges. It can operate in all different types of weather and smoke as well as day and night. A U-2 Dragon Lady can also fly with the SYERS or Senior Year Electro Optical Reconnaissance System platform. This platform is capable of multiple different spectral of imaging. It can see through smoke, light-fog, and transient weather. SYERS has been upgraded to include infra-red technology so if the enemy was camouflaging their true intentions, the U-2S’s imaging platform could detect the true threat. The Dragon Lady also has the ability to send it’s sensor data around the globe in a split-second because the of the dome located...
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