Lockheed U-2

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed Dragon Lady, is an American single-jet engine, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency.

It provides day and night, high-altitude (70,000 feet, 21,300 meters), all-weather intelligence gathering.

Variants

U-2A

Initial production, single-seat; Pratt & Whitney J57-P-37A engine; 48 built

U-2B

Proposed missile warning patrol aircraft; not built.

U-2C

Enhanced single-seat model with Pratt & Whitney J75-P-13 engine and modified engine intakes

U-2D

2 seater used for various IR detection programs, not a trainer aircraft.

U-2CT

Enhanced 2-seat trainer.

U-2E

Aerial refuelling capable, J57-powered

U-2F

Aerial refuelling capable, J75-powered

U-2G

C-models modified with reinforced landing gear, added arresting hook, and lift dump spoilers on the wings for U.S. Navy carrier operations; three converted

U-2H

Aircraft carrier capable, aerial refuelling capable

U-2R

Re-designed airframes enlarged nearly 30 percent with under wing pods and increased fuel capacity; 14 built

U-2RT

Enhanced two-seat R-model trainer; one built

U-2EPX

Proposed U.S. Navy maritime surveillance R-model; two built

TR-1A

A third production batch of U-2R aircraft built for high-altitude tactical reconnaissance missions with side-looking radar, new avionics, and improved ECM equipment; 33 built.

Re-designated U-2S after the fall of the Soviet Union

TR-1B

Two TR-1A airframes completed as two-seat conversion trainers

TU-2S

New redesignated TR-1B two-seat trainer with improved engine; five converted

ER-2

Two TR-1A airframes, AF Ser. No. 80-1063, and Ser. No. 80-1097, modified as Earth resources research aircraft, moved from USAF to NASA and operated by the NASA High-Altitude Missions Branch, Ames Research Centre.

NASA flies Ser. No. 80-1097 as N809NA and Ser. No. 80-1063 as N806NA.

U-2S

Redesignation of the TR-1A and U-2R aircraft with updated General Electric F118 engine, improved sensors, and addition of a GPS receiver; 31 converted

WU-2

Atmospheric/weather research WU-model

U-2E/F

In May 1961, in an attempt to extend the U-2’s already considerable range, Lockheed modified six CIA U-2s and several USAF U-2s with aerial refuelling equipment, which allowed the aircraft to receive fuel from either the KC-97 or from the KC-135.

U-2R/S

The U-2R, first flown in 1967, is significantly larger and more capable than the original aircraft.

A tactical reconnaissance version, the TR-1A, first flew in August 1981.

A distinguishing feature of these aircraft is the addition of a large instrumentation “superpod” under each wing.

Designed for standoff tactical reconnaissance in Europe, the TR-1A was structurally identical to the U-2R.

The 17th Reconnaissance Wing, RAF Alconbury, England used operational TR-1As from 1983 until 1991.

The last U-2 and TR-1 aircraft were delivered to USAF in October 1989.

In 1992 all TR-1s were re-designated to U-2R for uniformity across the fleet.

The two-seat trainer variant of the TR-1, the TR-1B, was redesignated as the TU-2R.

After upgrading with the GE F-118-101 engine, the former U-2Rs were designated the U-2S Senior Year.

ER-2

A derivative of the U-2 known as the ER-2 (Earth Resources 2), in NASA’s white livery, is based at the Dryden Flight Research Centre (now Armstrong Flight Research Centre) and is used for high-altitude civilian research including Earth resources, celestial observations, atmospheric chemistry and dynamics, and oceanic processes.

Programs using the aircraft include the Airborne Science Program, ERAST and Earth Science Enterprise.

Landings are assisted by another pilot at speeds exceeding 120 miles per hour (190 km/h) in a chase car.

Specifications

Crew

1

Capacity

5,000 lb (2,300 kg) payload

Length

63 ft 0 in (19.20 m)

Wingspan

103 ft (31 m)

Height

16 ft 0 in (4.88 m)

Wing area

1,000 sq ft (93 m2)

Airfoil

Root

NACA 63A409

Tip

NACA 63A406

Empty weight

16,000 lb (7,257 kg)

Max take-off weight

40,000 lb (18,144 kg)

Fuel capacity

2,950 US gal (2,460 imp gal; 11,200 l)

Powerplant

1 × General Electric F118-101 turbofan engine, 17,000 lbf (76 kN) thrust

Performance

Cruise Mach number

Mach 0.715 (412 kn; 470 mph; 760 km/h) at 72,000 ft (22,000 m)

Cruise speed

413 kn (475 mph, 765 km/h) at 65,000 ft (20,000 m)

Stall speed

65 kn (75 mph, 120 km/h)

Range

6,090 nmi (7,010 mi, 11,280 km) plus

Endurance

12 hours

Service ceiling

80,000 ft (24,000 m) plus

Rate of climb

9,000 ft/min (46 m/s)

Time to altitude

60,000 ft (18,000 m) in 12 minutes 30 seconds

Lift-to-drag

25.6

Wing loading

40 lb/sq ft (200 kg/m2)

Thrust/weight

0.425

Fuel consumption

910 lb/h (410 kg/h) in cruise.

 

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