The U.S. Air Force retires U-2 Dragon Lady for good on Dec. 15. Without disclosing the identity of the mission system, the service said it is “being replaced with a new, more advanced multi-platform technology” that is flown on the RQ-4.
The final sortie for this system was flown by the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron – one of two high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft flying missions in support of defending the region.
The new system, already used on the RQ-4 Global Hawk, offers some automation and technological improvements over the older system.
The retired mission system has served the U.S. Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission for over 40 years, providing high altitude ISR products to support national defence.
The newest U-2 models entered service in the 1980s. The current model, the U-2S, received its most recent technical upgrade in 2012.