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Friday, February 20, 2015

Skunk Works head: New spy plane needed

U-2 Dragon Lady and RQ-4 Global HawkThe Air Force's current plans for high-altitude surveillance, keeping the decades-old U-2 flying while upgrading the new RQ-4 Global Hawk drone, will not meet the demands of the military for reconnaissance, and the service needs to start again with a new aircraft to replace both spy plans, the head of Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works said.

The Air Force's fiscal 2016 budget request will keep the U-2 flying until 2019 while funding upgrades to the Global Hawk's sensor package to put the drone on par with the aging spy plane.

The move will have the drone take over the spy plane's missions in full, though the differences in capabilities means that neither aircraft can really do the other's job.

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