The U-2 The U-2 CIA Air Force Reasons: Soviet air defense was aggressive April 8, 1950 USSR shot down a US Privateer over Baltic Autumn 1951 USSR downed a Twin-Engine Navy Neptune bomber June 13 1952 USSR allegedly downed a RB-29 Also scattered reports from Britain and Turkey After USSR backed N. Korea fear of USSR expansion grew Development: Civilian or Air Force? After many letters the decision for who to run development came from president Eisenhower who instructed that if a uniformed test pilot was captured in USSR in peacetime problems would arouse so a civilian team was called for development. Funding I would like to note that this segment in many reports was covered with black marker You try to read a sentence blacked out like this s and understand it. The Team James R. Killian, Jr.
Director of Scientist — President of MIT His team of engineers worked no more that 50 feet from the assembly line. Problems were recognized and fixed in a few hours of draft productions. The Place Lockheed Martins Advanced Development facility in Burbank, CA AKA Skunk Works The Plane: The design called for a lightweight aircraft for ultrahigh flight. Tail The long tail was bolted to the body was only 3 bolts. This design was similar to a sailplane, which is also known for its lightweight.
Wings The wing spar went through the fuselage. The panels were bolted to the side of the fuselage. (Sailplane) Amazingly the wings where integrated fuel tanks keeping almost all of the U-2s fuel. Nose and Landing Gear The nose was curved upwards to keep stabilized during wind gusts. (Sailplane) The landing was a complex set of bicycle like gears that weight 208 pounds but had the capability to withstand the touchdown of a 7-ton aircraft.
Camera After developing 2 cameras each too large or too heavy a camera a camera was then developed using 3 mirrors and a prism to meet the size and weight requirements of the U-2 Spacesuits One of the first partially pressurized suits for high altitude flight was developed for specifically for the U-2. The cockpit kept a constant pressure 28,000 ft. This was at an outside pressure of a window cracking 70,000 feet or more. If the pressure suddenly decreased the suit would automatically inflate and administrate oxygen to the pilot. (Blood boils after 65,000ft) Fuel The CIA called on the vice president of Shell Oil Co.
to make a low-volatility, low-vapor kerosene fuel. A fuel with the boiling point of 300F Security I wish I could fly like an eagle to the see fly like and eagle like my spirits carry me I want to fly. Right into the future I want to fly again. Over flights: First The first over flight of the U-2 was over Leningrad. Its target was to observe ship and submarines at bay.
The Soviets caught glimpses of the U-2 but never accurately recognized the neither plane nor flight path. The USSR sent a letter to the White House describing the detection a Twin-Engine Navy Neptune bomber over USSR. The USSR was grossly wrong in the description of the U-2 and could not sustain the U-2 on radar for more than a few seconds. Nevertheless Eisenhower closed all over flights Renewal Eisenhower later renewed the U-2 program. But after taking pictures of Yerevan, USSR, The aircraft malfunctioned, and was forced to return to base.
In another flight a pilot nick-named the Lemon Drop Kick was to fly over Bulgaria. The reason he was called that was because he always sucked on lemon hard candies during flight. But on that day the solider suiting him up put a L-pill in his pocket, unknowingly with the hard candies. L-pill being a suicide pill filled with potassium cyanide. He took off and started to eat his candy.
He felt one of the pills had no flavor. Without biting into it he removed his faceplate and spit it out. The pilot was fine, but a thin glass coating away from death. More flights over the USSR west border were conducted with target cites and testing areas. Operation GRAND SLAM, the last over flight The flight was the first transit over the Soviet Union, all previous flight flew halfway in then turned around and retraced its flight.
The flight would have been sooner, but the weather did not permit it. So CIA asked for more time. President Eisenhower demanded that no flights to be made after May 1, 1960 because of the scheduled Paris Summit on May 16. Francis Gary Powers was chosen to fly the mission because he was the most skilled pilot of the U-2 with 27 over flights dating back to 1956. Bad weather continued and the U-2 and Powers took off on May 1, 1960 May 1 is a Russian holiday and very few USSR military aircrafts were in the air. Therefore the Russians saw the U-2 on radar immediately. The Soviets ordered a ban on civilian air traffic just to keep a hold on the U-2.
15 miles into the USSR the Russians deployed 13 interceptor planes. But all of them struggled to keep the U-2 on radar. Finally, only 4 and half-hours into the mission a surface to air missile hit the U-2s fragile tail and disabled it immediately at 70,500 ft above Sverdlovsk. Powers fell into an abysmal spiral. The centrifugal force pushed him against the canopy, the canopy broke and Powers was dangling out of the aircraft hanging on to an oxygen hose.
He was still trying to hit the self-destruct button on the U-2, but the switches were out of reach. The oxygen hose tore and Powers flew rapidly out of the plane almost knocking him unconscious. After falling several thousand feet the automated parachute burst open. When Powers hit Russian soil, farmers, and then Russian officials surrounded him. It was later discovered that the Powers, because of a malfunction, he was flying lower then the assigned altitude.
That is why the Russians were able to hit the U-2. Interestingly the missile only broke the tail of the U-2 in a fly-by. The missile then curved to hit and detonate on a Russian Fighter airplane that was following the U-2. The Impact NASA made a cover-up story explained that a weather aircraft was missing over Turkey. They faked transcripts describing the pilot having oxygen difficulties.
So it could be explained that the pilot lost consciousness, flew into USSR and crashed. But the Soviets had the plane and the pilot both examinable and alive. Khrushchev cleverly released as little information as possible. They never revealed they had the pilot alive. The US aimlessly stuck to its weather plane story.
After 7 days the USSR revealed that the pilot was alive and had admitted to spying against the Russians. NASAs cover-up broke to pieces. May 11, 1960 Eisenhower had a press conference naming himself responsible for the U-2 over flights and development. At the summit less then a week later, Khrushchev demanded a formal apology from the US. Eisenhower refused The U-2 missions were terminated and the planes disassembled. A coup ousted the Turkish government on May 27, 1960 and the new Premier was never told about the U-2.
The Turkish base was shut down and all personnel were evacuated. Powers On August 17, 1960 Francis Gary Powers was put on trial in a huge propaganda scheme. He was sentenced to 10 years of depravation of liberty Although the US and the USSR were negotiating to release Powers for the release of Rudolf Abel, the head of a large Russian spy ring within the US government. In February 10, 1962 the exchange took place in the middle of the Glienecke Bridge between West and East Germany.