U-2 retirements gradually picking up pace

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Message posted by Vahe Demirjian (Member since 04/28/2022) on May 07, 2024 at 13:31:26 PST:

With the USAF's plans to have the U-2 retired in FY 2026, over the course of the first four months of this year, one TU-2S (80-1065) and two U-2S aircraft (80-1066 and 80-1085) have been retired from service:

The only remaining first-generation U-2Rs (serials 68-10329, 68-10331, 68-10336, and 68-10337), which like the second-generation U-2Rs were converted to U-2S configuration, could be the next U-2s to be retired given their old age (the U-2R with serial 68-10337 had a crash in 1988 but was eventually taken back to Palmdale to be rebuilt). Last April, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) urged the Defense Department to cease plans to retire the U-2 on the grounds that doing so would cause hundreds of layoffs at the Lockheed Martin facility in Palmdale, but it didn't mention that NASA continues to fly the U-2s designated ER-2 by NASA and Lockheed Martin presumably has a facility for maintenance of the RQ-170 Sentinel that in the future could hire veteran employees involved with maintaining the U-2 fleet even if the retirement of the U-2 is proceeding.

Attached link: Dragon Lady retirement moves forward: USAF retires U-2 Tail 80-1085 as her pilot conducts their 1,085 solo flight


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