weather reconnaissance aircraft

[138], A U-2 was stationed in Cyprus in March 2011 to help in the enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya,[139] and a U-2 stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea was used to provide imagery of the Japanese nuclear reactor damaged by the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. [183] Each modified U-2 also included an additional oxygen cylinder. [124], The only loss of a U-2 during combat operations occurred on 8 October 1966, when Major Leo Stewart, flying with the 349th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, developed mechanical problems high over North Vietnam. This is common practice in high resolution cameras in later systems also, where the large image helps localize the small high-resolution images. Although the Soviets' SS-6 Sapwood missile program was actually stalled due to technical failures, subsequent boasts—and U.S. Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy's statement in February 1959 to Congress that the Soviets might have a three-to-one temporary advantage in ICBMs during the early 1960s—caused widespread concern in the U.S. about the existence of a "missile gap". While Genetrix was also a technical failure—only 34 of the 516 balloons returned usable photographs—the balloon flights gave the United States many clues on how the Communist countries used radar to track overflights, which benefited the U-2 program. The language barrier and a lack of appropriate flying experience proved problematic; by late 1955, foreign pilots had been dropped from the program. The Lockheed WC-130J aircraft is a venerable workhorse. The U-2 managed to return to South Vietnam where Stewart ejected safely. The TR-X is meant to be "survivable, not unnoticeable", operating outside of enemy air defense bubbles rather than penetrating into them. In 2009, the USAF stated that it planned to extend the U-2 retirement from 2012 until 2014 or later to allow more time to field the RQ-4. While pilots can drink water and eat various liquid foods in squeezable containers[49] through a self-sealing hole in the face mask, they typically lose up to 5% of their body mass on an eight-hour mission. The U-2 intelligence caused Eisenhower to state in a press conference on 9 October that the launch did "not raise my apprehensions, not one iota", but he refused to disclose the U-2's existence as he believed that the Soviets would demand the end of the flights. The Air Force commissioned the Beacon Hill Report from Project Lincoln at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which was researched in 1951-1952 and delivered in 1952. Joss, John, "Flying the U-2," FLYING magazine, April 1977. [16], Edwin Land, the developer of instant photography and another member of the panel proposed to Dulles through Dulles' aide, Richard M. Bissell Jr., that his agency should fund and operate this aircraft. The death in April 1956, however, of British agent Lionel Crabb while examining Soviet ships in Portsmouth harbor embarrassed the British government, which asked the United States to postpone the Lakenheath flights. [144], In March 2011, it was projected that the fleet of 32 U-2s would be operated until 2015. In 1999, USAF spent approximately $11.3 million (equivalent to $17.3 million today) on fuel for the U-2 aircraft and was looking for a lower cost alternative. [106], As many as 15 U-2 sorties provided support for the April 1960 Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba by the United States. Pilots continued to have difficulty during landing, due to the ground effect holding the aircraft off the runway for long distances. [17], Bissell became head of the project, which used covert funding; under the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949, the CIA's director is the only federal government employee who can spend "un-vouchered" government money. The U.S. released some of the photographs to the British government. The WC-130H aircraft are former weather reconnaissance aircraft, now reverted to the transport mission. By September 1955 he had trained six USAF pilots, who in turn trained other "sheep-dipped" pilots. Major Rudolf Anderson Jr. was shot down in a U-2 during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. TR-X could be ready for service in the 2025 timeframe, with a fleet of 25–30 aircraft proposed to replace the nearly 40-aircraft mix of U-2s and RQ-4s. This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 00:32. [86][87] After a few more overflights that year, only five more took place before the May 1960 incident because of Eisenhower's increasing caution. Programs using the aircraft include the Airborne Science Program, ERAST and Earth Science Enterprise. Huge collection, amazing choice, 100+ million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. Pedlow and Welzenbach 1992, pp. [7], Weather reconnaissance is also provided by weather balloons.[7]. Aerial reconnaissance often provides a more accurate assessment of weather conditions than radar or satellite imagery. 152–156, 181. [34] The U-2S's ISR very high altitude mission requires changes for avionics suite for the U-2’s onboard systems, a new mission computer designed to the U.S. Air Force’s open mission systems standard[35] and a new and modern cockpit displays (Primary Flight Display or PFD). In the United States, the organizations that fly these missions are the United States Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunters. Eisenhower knew from the earlier overflights that his hope of no Soviet detection was unrealistic, but ordered that the overflights stop if the aircraft could be tracked. Lockheed had meanwhile become busy with other projects and had to be persuaded to accept the CL-282 contract after approval. Although the aircraft were unable to make an intercept, the formation leader, Major Yosef Alon, managed to get a good look at the aircraft. This produced the A-2 camera, containing three K-38 cameras with 24-inch f/8.0 lenses. The Lockheed WC-130J aircraft is a venerable workhorse. [38], To decrease the risk of developing decompression sickness, pilots breathe 100% oxygen for an hour prior to take off to remove nitrogen from the blood. The Soviets began tracking the U-2 15 miles outside the border, and over Sverdlovsk, four and a half hours into the flight, one of three SA-2 missiles detonated behind the aircraft at 70,500 feet, near enough to cause it to crash; another hit a Soviet interceptor attempting to reach the American aircraft. [175], By the end of ROC's U-2 operations, a total of 19 U-2C/F/G/R aircraft had been operated by the 35th Squadron from 1959 to 1974. [65] There were other non-fatal incidents, including at least one that resulted in the loss of the aircraft. [102] The end of Soviet overflights meant that Detachment B itself soon left Turkey, and in July Detachment C left Japan following a Japanese governmental request. [23], The U-2 has used Jet Propellant Thermally Stable (JPTS) since the aircraft's development in the 1950s. To the U.S. government, the 35th Squadron and any U.S. CIA/USAF personnel assigned to the unit were known as Detachment H on all documents. ", "Operation Fish Hawk – Secret CIA mission – U-2 reconnaissance flight – 1964 French nuclear test on Mururoa Atoll", https://theaviationist.com/2015/06/28/u-2-carrier-operations-story/, "NASA aircraft sets new world altitude record. Unmanned weather buoys, replaced weather ships when they became prohibitively expensive. Test pilot Tony LeVier trained other Lockheed pilots to fly the U-2. A classified budget document approved by the Pentagon on 23 December 2005 called for the U-2's termination no earlier than 2012, with some aircraft being retired by 2007. Others originated from Lahore, Pakistan. Get a 108.700 second circa 1960s - a weather stock footage at 60fps. The U-2's large wingspan slowed its descent during crashes, often leaving its remains salvageable; Lockheed was able to rebuild the wreckage from the incident into a flyable airframe, but that it could do so should have been evidence to the CIA that its cover story might not be viable after a crash in hostile territory. Soviet interceptors could still not reach the U-2s but, after the Soviets protested a December overflight of Vladivostok by RB-57Ds, Eisenhower again forbade communist overflights. [74], A second flight on 5 July continued searching for Bisons, took photographs of Moscow (the only ones taken by the program), and flew over cloud-covered[75] rocket factories at Kaliningrad and Khimki. Helicopters are not built to withstand the severe turbulence encountered in hurricane rainbands and eye walls. A U.S. Air Force weather reconnaissance aircraft flew into Agatha and found an eye and strong bands. Frank C. Brody, Richard A. Lafosse, Dan G. Bellue, Timothy D. Oram (1997). 202 Squadron was reformed by renumbering 518 Squadron as a Weather Reconnaissance squadron at RAF Aldergrove near Belfast on 1 October 1946, flying converted Handley Page Halifax GR.6 & A.9 bombers on long range meteorological flights over the North Atlantic (codenamed "Bismuth"). Imagery intelligence sensors include either wet film photography, electro-optic, or radar imagery–the latter from the Raytheon ASARS-2 system. U-2 Article 347's main targets were the Soviet submarine construction program in Leningrad, and counting the numbers of the new Myasishchev M-4 "Bison" bomber. On 11 March 1959, two Israeli Super Mystere fighters were directed to intercept a U-2 detected over Israel by Israeli ground-based radar. The last and final Navy weather reconnaissance aircraft used for hurricane hunting was the WP-3A Orion. The lens design consisted of a single aspheric singlet lens. U-2 pilots now exercise during oxygen pre-breathing. [90] In December 1958 Khrushchev boasted that a Soviet missile could deliver a 5-megaton warhead 8,000 miles (13,000 km). Its name was changed to mean "tactical reconnaissance" to reflect its purpose as an affordable peace and wartime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, distinguishing it from strategic, penetrating SR-71-class platforms; TR is a reference to the short-lived rebranding of the U-2 as the TR-1 in the 1980s. Mitsubishi Ki-46 reconnaissance aircraft of Japanese Imperial Army in the second World War. [14] The reconnaissance aircraft was essentially a jet-powered glider. Although he had been told that he could reveal everything about the aircraft since the Soviets could learn what they wanted from it, Powers did his best to conceal classified information while appearing to cooperate. Seven Greek pilots and a Polish expatriate were added to the U-2 trainees although only two of the Greek pilots were subsequently allowed to fly the aircraft. ", "Sources: USAF to kill block 30 Global Hawks. [68] The unlawfulness of the Black Jet Incident [jp] was criticized in Japan's House of Representatives. Before artificial satellites were used to find storms, the the 53rd along with other hurricane searching units flew routine weather … Pedlow and Welzenbach 1992, pp. [50] Most pilots chose to not take with them the suicide pill offered before missions. A committee of Army, Navy, USAF, CIA, NSA, and State Department representatives created lists of priority targets for U-2 and other intelligence-gathering methods. U-2: How the Spy Plane No One Wanted Got Built, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, painted the aircraft in a blue-black color, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer, Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, National Museum of the United States Air Force, Lt. Maultsby accidentally flies a U-2 into Russian airspace, List of active United States military aircraft, List of non-carrier aircraft flown from aircraft carriers, "U-2 spy plane evades the day of retirement", "BEACON HILL REPORT: PROBLEMS OF AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE AND RECONNAISSANCE", "Suggestions re: The intelligence value of Aquatone. [38] Otherwise, Powers had little instruction on what to do during an interrogation. ", "Dragon Lady fires up for another combat mission in Southwest Asia. Israel was a major target of U-2 missions during this period, with U-2 missions detecting the construction of the Negev Nuclear Research Center in 1958, first bringing Israel's nuclear program to the attention of the US. ; These astronauts flew aboard weather reconnaissance aircraft to provide support at the selected landing site. After the U-2 comes to a halt, the ground crew re-installs the pogos, then the aircraft taxis to parking. ", "Killer at 70,000 feet: The occupational hazards of flying the U-2. National Research Council (U.S.). The two-seat trainer variant of the TR-1, the TR-1B, was redesignated as the TU-2R. ", "Libya intervention: What's the endgame? Land considered that if the military, rather than the CIA, operated the CL-282 during peacetime it could provoke a war. The CIA and Eisenhower viewed using British pilots as a way of increasing plausible deniability for the flights. [22] The aircraft was so crowded that when Baker asked Johnson for six more inches (15 cm) of space for a lens with a 240-inch (610 cm) focal length, Johnson replied "I'd sell my grandmother for six more inches! Next, Baker and Scott began work on the A-2B. The "U" referred to the deliberately vague designation "utility" instead of "R" for "reconnaissance", and the U-1 and U-3 aircraft already existed. The RAINBOW anti-radar modifications were not very successful, and their use ended in 1958. Both flights from Ranger occurred in May 1964 to observe France's development of an atomic bomb test range at Moruroa in French Polynesia. The committee was led by Carl F. P. Overhage and was overseen by the Air Force's Gordon P. Saville, and included James Gilbert Baker and Edwin H. Land, who would design the specialized optics in the U-2. The Soviets developed their own overflight aircraft, variants of the Yak-25, which in addition to photographing various parts of the world through the early 1960s acted as a target for the new MiG-19 and MiG-21 interceptors to practice for the U-2. "Detection of Anisotropy in the Cosmic Blackbody Radiation. ", "The U-2 World, January 1991 – July 1994, May – October 1996. The U-2 is very sensitive to crosswinds, which, together with its tendency to float over the runway, makes the aircraft notoriously difficult to land. [161], Bissell suggested bringing the British into the program to increase the number of overflights. [176] The squadron flew some 220 missions,[177] with about half over mainland China, resulting in five aircraft shot down, with three fatalities and two pilots captured; one aircraft lost while performing an operational mission off the Chinese coast, with the pilot killed; and another seven aircraft lost in training with six pilots killed. [36], The avionics upgrades are scheduled to be completed by 2022. [95] Francis Gary Powers, the most experienced pilot with 27 missions, was chosen for the flight. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was informed immediately and was quite upset, believing correctly that the United States violation of sovereign Soviet airspace was casus belli. [117], On 24 September 1959, an unmarked U-2, Article 360, crash landed to Fujisawa Airfield  [jp] of Japan. Before the new detachment was ready, however, Detachment A in late August used Adana as a refueling base to photograph the Mediterranean. Richard M. Bissel, the CIA official in charge of both the U-2 program and CIA covert operations, including the Bay of Pigs Invasion, had been a good friend of Land and Killian, but such use of the U-2s strained their friendship. In the mid-1990s, it was converted from the U-2R to the U-2S, receiving the GE F118 turbofan engine. Armed American security forces in plainclothes soon arrived and moved away locals at gunpoint, increasing public interest in the crash. Gorenstein, and R.A. Muller. It could reach an altitude of 73,000 feet (22,300 m) and had a 1,600 mi (1,400 nmi; 2,600 km) radius. After World War II, the U.S. military desired better strategic aerial reconnaissance to help determine Soviet capabilities and intentions, to prevent being caught off guard like Pearl Harbor. He subsequently identified it out of a book as a U-2, registered as a weather reconnaissance aircraft to the US Weather Service. Richard Leghorn of the United States Air Force (USAF) suggested that an aircraft that could fly at 60,000 feet (18,300 m) should be safe from the MiG-17, the Soviet Union's best interceptor aircraft, which could barely reach 45,000 feet (13,700 m). The program offered high salaries and the USAF promised that pilots could return at the same rank as their peers. ", "List of records established by the 'Lockheed Martin ER-2': Database ID 5795", "Five ways the U-2 goes above and sees beyond. Hickman's U-2 flew across Cuba, ran out of fuel and crashed in Bolivia. No need to register, buy now! As determined later by USAF investigators, trouble with the aircraft's oxygen system caused Hickman to lose consciousness. [134] In January 2006, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced the U-2's pending retirement as a cost-cutting measure during a larger reorganization and redefinition of the USAF's mission. As it approaches the runway, the cushion of air provided by the high-lift wings in ground effect is so pronounced that the U-2 will not land unless the wings are fully stalled. 118-22. The U.S. replied on 19 July that no American "military planes" had overflown the Soviet Union, but the fact that the Soviets' report showed that they could track the U-2s for extended periods caused Eisenhower to immediately halt overflights over eastern Europe. 659-60, Monte Reel, "A Brotherhood of Spies: The U2 and the CIA's Secret War," (New York: Anchor Books, 2019), pp. Conventional reconnaissance missions would limit pilot duties to maintaining flight path for camera photography. A stall would cause a loss of altitude, possibly leading to detection and overstress of the airframe.[22]. As its main target the long-range bomber airfield at Saratov/Engels limit pilot duties to flight... Options on A-10, U-2 flights originated or terminated on a routine basis presidential order not! Of obtaining additional Soviet overflights research and planning Navy units and other ships for camera photography for deployment and! 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