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Additional resources for Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady
This was, technically, the truth. The U-2s were officially private aircraft, owned and operated by Lockheed under contract to the CIA, which was a civilian agency. And they were not twinengined. Although the ideal response to a lawyer, it is unlikely that it either calmed or amused the Soviets. In order to prevent any future diplomatic incidents, President Eisenhower directed that all future overflights of Soviet territory receive his personal approval. After each U-2 flight the film would be removed, developed, and duplicated at the landing site.
Ithough the U-2C was still providing valuable intelligence, the continued incorporation of more and heavier sensors and ECM equipment was rapidly taking its toll on performance. Late in its life, the U-2C had less than half the range of the original U-2As, and its maximum altitude had decreased by almost 5,000 feet. Additionally, over 40 of the original 55 airframes had been lost to various causes, including at least five shot down over China, one over Cuba, and several over and around the Soviet Union.
One of the first missions assigned to the Air Force U-2s was a High Altitude Sampling Program (HASP) sponsored by the Defense Atomic Support Agency. During OPERATION CROW FLIGHT the 4028th sampled over 150 million cubic feet of stratospheric air during a five year period using 45,000 flight hours. 5 hours long at cruising altitudes between 50,000 and 70,000 feet. Flights were conducted from a variety of locations, including: Puerto Rico; Buenos Aires; Alaska; North Dakota; and Australia. In addition to particulates and gases, the WU-2As gathered information on cosmic radiation, ozone accumulation, and upper atmospheric jet streams.