For the first time in history the U-2 spy plane participated in exercise Northern Edge 17. Northern Edge is a joint exercise held in Alaska at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with approximately 6000 military service members and 200 aircraft.

The two-week exercise was utilized by the 9th Reconnaissance Wing to test new experimental technology on the U-2. This technology fully integrated the Dragon Lady with 4th and 5th generation aircraft.

“It’s a big stepping stone for us,” said Maj. Dustin, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, Wing Tactics Office, weapons school development branch chief. “It’s the first year the U-2 has participated in Northern Edge. The fact that we have forward deployed to Alaska, we’ve taken over 130 personnel from the 9RW and deployed them out to JBER is an achievement.”

“The comradery with everyone has been great, all of us working together to get the mission done, and it has gone really smoothly,” said Staff Sgt. David Labarge, 9th Physiological Support Squadron full pressure suit technician supervisor. “It was very rewarding to be a part of the crew that launched the first (U-2) from here in 30 years.” – Beale Air Force Base

Exercise Northern Edge dates back to 1975.

Featured image of a U-2 pilot touching the nose of the aircraft by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Schultze, US Air Force