The US Lockheed U-2 Reconnaissance Aircraft Again Makes Chinese Spy Helpless

The US Lockheed U-2 Reconnaissance Aircraft Again Makes Chinese Spy Helpless
The US Lockheed U-2 Reconnaissance Aircraft Again Makes Chinese Spy Helpless

International Military - Before being shot down by a United States F-22 fighter jet, China's spy balloon was stalked by a Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft.

As reported by Airandspaceforce, it was stated that the US had used the U-2 to gather intelligence from Chinese spy balloons, especially when the U-2 was above the US mainland.

The high-altitude reconnaissance flight allowed the US to verify the balloon surveillance package appeared to be equipped with multiple antennas that US intelligence agencies said were intended to collect and geolocate communications.

"High-resolution imagery of the U-2 on the balloon's trajectory reveals that the high-altitude balloon is capable of conducting intelligence signal-gathering operations," said a senior official in the US Department of Defense.

The Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft has been in operation for 68 years and is still the most reliable to fly in missions and environments that other aircraft cannot.

With its wide fuselage, twice its length, the Lockheed U-2 is the United States Air Force's most distinctive spy plane. Also the most difficult plane to fly. It is for this reason that she was given the nickname "The Dragon Lady".

The U-2 had a 19m-long fuselage, two altitude aspects, wings that served for gliding rather than sweeping through the air, and powerful engines designed to allow the aircraft to fly higher than 70,000 feet (21km) - and, most importantly, survive at there.

The U-2 was designed to operate at that altitude, as well as at near-maximum speed throughout the mission, which could last for hours. The pilots referred to its cruising altitude as the "coffin corner".

At 70,000 feet and above, the "Dragon Lady" rules most of the sky on her own, much the same today as it was 65 years ago when the U-2 first took off. At this altitude, the pilot's role is like that of an astronaut rather than a pilot. Inside the cocoon-like pressurized cockpit of the U-2, the pilot must wear a special suit and helmet equipped with 100% oxygen. Some of this equipment can even be found in spacesuits used today.

In an era of automation and algorithms, it's easy to imagine that these spy planes, with their pilots and "special abilities" are leftovers from the Cold War.

In the 31 years since the Berlin Wall fell, U-2 has managed to eavesdrop on speech or text, pick up electronic signals, take photographs, and use special radar to capture digital images. The U-2 even has a number of new roles, such as broadcasting data.

Its ability to fly high in the sky means it is perfectly positioned to broadcast information from the battlefield to the base. Along the way, the U-2 proved to outlast the newer reconnaissance planes and took over the function of the satellite it was built to replace.

Although not a relic, the U-2 aircraft is synonymous with the Cold War. In the 1950s, the administration of President Dwight D Eisenhower received several shocks about Soviet nuclear capabilities. America didn't know anything about it because there was an intelligence failure.

The Soviet Union was a closed country that was difficult for the Central Intelligence Service (CIA) to penetrate. The lack of spies in the right places meant the president needed a spy plane that could fly at high altitudes and tip off what the Soviet Union was planning. And he needed it fast.

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