Not Done Yet

The Air Force is pursing upgrades to keep the high-flying U-2 reconnaissance aircraft useful—at least until 2011—even as the service investigates whether it should keep the aircraft but dump the pilot. The Dragon Lady, now getting a dual data link capability among other improvements, was high on the service’s list of aircraft to retire. An Air Combat Command news release notes that the Dual Data Link 2 enables the U-2 to give real-time intelligence to both combatant commanders on the ground and ground stations in the US. Maj. Thomas Bailey, DDL2 program manager, says the data link gives the Air Force a 100 percent increase in raw intelligence data.