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U-2 Dragon Lady shows plenty of life

6th May 2020 - 14:00 GMT | by Ian Parker in Portsmouth

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A popular phrase in the US is ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. In aviation, one could think of the DC-3 and the 747, but who would think of the Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin) U-2 Dragon Lady? 

The current version, the U-2S, is a powerful surveillance tool. While it first flew in 1955, the type probably has decades of operation ahead of it and airframe life extensions and sensor upgrades could take operations into the 2040s or 2050s.

Other strategic reconnaissance aircraft, manned and unmanned, have challenged the U-2 but none have so far come close ...

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