SR-71 vs. U-2

SR-71 vs. U-2

When I was a kid I loved airplanes more than anything else, and even now I spend a little too much time watching the Discovery Wings channel. Given that, I’ve been curious as to why the military is using the U-2 (a very, very old plane with good capabilities) instead of the SR-71 (a kinda old plane that still holds world records) to fly spy missions over Iraq. This site, authored by a former SR-71 Crew Chief, answered all of my questions.

And I apologize if you thought that this might be about a couple of bands.

4 Replies to “SR-71 vs. U-2”

  1. The SR 71 Suffered severe fuel tank leakedge problems while on the strip. The special high altitude seals that made he fuel system did not function well while not at operational altitude. For a Spy plane mission to be take place. The plane is prepared for several hours before the initial take off. Then comes the long wait of getting White House approval for the recon mission. This can take several hours delaying take off. All the while the Fuel is being leaked, not to mention the tremendous hazard of a puddle of jet fuel under the Multi million dollar plane.
    Believe me it sucks. I think the U-2 though a remarkable aircraft, will never live up to the image of the Black Bird. The U-2s are all very fragile aircraft, if 1 mission within less than a mile radius destroys near he aircraft, the rupture will destroy the craft. As seen in the Francis Gary Powers Case in his Operation Overflight for the CIA. He got screwed and ended up in a KGB prison, and put on trial in Moscow by the Soviets. How many SR71 pilots were downed over hostile territory ?
    To conclude, the U2 is so fragile that it is a liability to the country conducting spy flights. IF your plane is shot down over hostile territory while in a recon mission, The White House has egg on its face. Some one will have to take the hit, not the President, and sure as hell not the CIA. Todays technology can revamp the SR71, making it operational, with little chance of risk. No missle, no radar and no plane will ever shoot the SR71 down.
    Modern Stealth technology cant even compete. The very nature of the Physics involved with making of a plane that is radar deceptive, it cant break the sound barrier (f117 b2), unable to reach near space altitudes(b2 f117), and require massive auto pilot systems to keep them stable in flight(b2).
    Then the ISsue of Satellites. They have nearly replaced the need for such aircraft. A satellite is a wonderful asset to the IMINT requirments of government, but they are virtually uncontrollable, and a good image of a place that you need now vs if a satellite in orbit is there at the right time, is hard to harmonize.
    Wow i typed a novel. Please Respond

  2. Why was the U-2 used instead of the SR-71 to take arial pictures during the Cuban Missle Crisis?

  3. Could the SR71 accommodate more than 1 crew member? Is it possible that it could fly with 3 crew members? I am just curious.

  4. The U-2 was used during the Cuban Missile Crisis because the SR-71 did not yet exist. The Cuban Missile Crisis happened during the last two weeks of October, 1962. The first flight of the SR-71 was on Dec. 22, 1964.

    The SR-71 always had two crew members. In SR-71A’s, the first member was the pilot and the second member was responsible for the reconnaissance equipment. In SR-71B’s and the SR-71C, a pilot in training sat in front and a instructor pilot was in the rear cockpit(which was elevated and modified so that the instructor pilot could fly the plane).

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