The Lockheed U-2, known as the “Dragon Lady,” stands as an icon in the annals of American aerial reconnaissance.

Since its introduction during the Cold War era, the massive aircraft has played a pivotal role in strategic intelligence. It was primarily designed to soar to unprecedented heights and capture imagery of military activities in Soviet and communist territories.

However, the U-2’s influence extended far beyond its anticipated operational zones.

Krzysztof Dabrowsky’s book, “Hunt for the U-2 Interceptions of Lockheed U-2 Reconnaissance Aircraft over USSR, Cuba, and People’s Republic of China, 1959-1968,” unveils a compelling narrative that debunked the notion that the U-2 solely conducted missions over the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), People’s Republic of China, or their allies.

Like its forerunner, the RB-57, the aircraft ventured into unexpected territories, marking notable incidents in its operational history.

Development History Recap

The Lockheed U-2, conceptualized by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson at Lockheed’s Skunk Works in the 1950s, emerged as an extraordinary high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft pivotal to Cold War intelligence.

Its maiden flight in 1955 marked the beginning of an iconic legacy.

With its distinctive glider-like design and high-aspect wings, the U-2 soared to altitudes exceeding 70,000 feet (21,336 meters), occasionally reaching heights nearing 90,000 feet (27,432 meters).