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The Lockheed U-2 is a single engine ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The type was introduced in 1957 and has a distinctive profile thanks to its pencil shaped fuselage and high aspect ratio wing. U-2s have been involved in operations around the world, overflying some of the most sensitive sites in order to gather intelligence on operations and new technologies such as nuclear programmes, from the 1960s Soviet Union to recent operations in Afghanistan.
The U-2 has been a regular visitor to RAF Fairford where the base has hosted the aircraft on stop-over when transferring to and from the East. However, since late 2019 the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron has been semi-permanently based at RAF Fairford with a pair of U-2s on strength.
It is one of these pair that will be appearing on static at RIAT 2022. Photo Credit: Peter Reoch