U-2 flies last optical strip camera mission, but Dragon Girl pilots will retain knowledge and skills in using sensors

The Air Force’s high-altitude, all-weather reconnaissance aircraft, the U-2 Dragon Lady, recently flew its last optical strip camera mission at Bill Air Force Base.
As 2nd explained.Lieutenant Hailey M. Toledo, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs, in the article “End of an Era: U-2s on Last OBC Mission,” the OBC mission will take high-altitude photos in daylight and will transition to the front of support The combat location was provided by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.This move allows the processor to integrate the film closer to the reconnaissance collection required for the mission.
Adam Marigliani, Collins Aerospace Engineering Support Specialist, said: “This event closes a decades-long chapter in Bill Air Force Base and film processing and opens a new chapter in the digital world.”
Collins Aerospace worked with the 9th Intelligence Squadron at Beale Air Force Base to download OBC imagery from U-2 missions around the world in support of Air Force objectives.
The OBC mission operated at Bill AFB for nearly 52 years, with the first U-2 OBC deployed from Beale AFB in 1974.Taken from the SR-71, OBC was modified and flight tested to support the U-2 platform, replacing the long-standing IRIS sensor.While the IRIS’s 24-inch focal length provides wide coverage, the OBC’s 30-inch focal length allows for a significant increase in resolution.
“The U-2 retains the ability to perform OBC missions on a global scale and with dynamic force deployment capabilities when required,” said Lt. Col. James Gayser, commander of the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron.
OBC is deployed to support a variety of missions, including Hurricane Katrina relief, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant incident, and Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and Joint Task Force Horn of Africa operations.
While operating over Afghanistan, the U-2 imaged the entire country every 90 days, and units throughout the Department of Defense used the OBC’s imagery to plan operations.
“All U-2 pilots will retain the knowledge and skills to use sensors across a variety of mission sets and operational locations to meet the geographic combatant commander’s priority intelligence gathering needs,” Geiser said.”As the need for more diverse collection requirements continues to grow, the U-2 program will evolve to maintain combat relevance to the various C5ISR-T capabilities and combat Air Force integration roles.”
Closing of the OBC at Bill AFB allows mission units and partners to focus greater energy on emergency capabilities, tactics, techniques and procedures, and employment concepts that directly support the pacing threat problem set to advance the entire mission 9th Reconnaissance Wing .
The U-2 provides high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance, day or night, in direct support of U.S. and allied forces.It provides critical imagery and signals intelligence to decision makers during all phases of conflict, including peacetime indications and warnings, low-intensity conflict and large-scale hostilities.
The U-2 is capable of collecting a variety of imagery, including multispectral electro-optical, infrared and synthetic aperture radar products that can be stored or sent to ground development centers.In addition, it supports the high-resolution, wide-area weather coverage provided by optical strip cameras that produce traditional film products, developed and analyzed after they land.
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Post time: Jul-21-2022

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