The U-2 Spy Plane & SR-71 Blackbird – All The Things You Are Not Supposed To Know!

The Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ are two planes of which there is not a lot known about them. Here we will learn some facts about them.

The Lockheed U-2

This is a single jet engine and can fly ultra-high. It is used to gather all-weather intelligence. It’s operated by the United States Airforce and also by the CIA; it can provide information from 70,000 feet all day and night which is perfect for gathering information.

The Lockheed is one of only a few aircraft that have been in service to the United States Air Force for over 50 years.
The U-2’s development started in 1954.

The CIA had the main control of the U-2 (under the code name Project Dragon Lady), although eventually the Navy and the United States Air Force eventually got to utilize it also. The Air Force bought 31 U-2’s from the CIA as they were so impressed with the craft, following their use of it when borrowing it from the CIA.


The SR-71 ‘Blackbird’

For its time, the Blackbird was such an advanced aircraft; its technology was outstanding compared to other crafts in use at the time. It broke most aviation records, flew beautifully when on missions and became truly famous.

The Blackbirds airframe consisted of a titanium alloy (ninety-three percent) which let the craft operate in varying temperatures. The canopy on the cockpit was made using heat-resistant glass and could withstand temperatures up to 640 degrees Fahrenheit.

A lot of new technology was used throughout the Blackbird’s design – it needed newly developed materials (fuel, wiring, lubricants, sealants and other components) to help it to withstand very high temperatures caused by friction when sustaining Mach 3 flight.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.