The U.S. Air Force 9th Reconnaissance Wing is home of the U-2 Dragon Lady, an outstanding reconnaissance aircraft that travels up to 70,000 feet. Included in this B-Roll is footage of the U-2 community before take-off. The 9th Reconnaissance Wing (9 RW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command and Sixteenth Air Force. It is stationed at Beale Air Force Base, California. The wing is also the host unit at Beale.
Its mission is to organize, train and equip the Air Force’s fleet of U-2R Dragon Lady, RQ-4 Global Hawk aircraft for peacetime intelligence gathering, contingency operations, conventional war fighting and Emergency War Order support. It is also assigned T-38 Talons for U-2 pilots to maintain flight hours. Its 9th Operations Group is a descendant organization of the 9th Group (Observation), one of the 13 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II.
The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady”, is an American single-jet engine, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It provides day and night, high-altitude (70,000 feet, 21,300 meters), all-weather intelligence gathering. Lockheed Corporation originally proposed it in 1953, it was approved in 1954, and its first test flight was in 1955. It was flown during the Cold War over the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, and Cuba.
U-2s have taken part in post-Cold War conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and supported several multinational NATO operations. The U-2 has also been used for electronic sensor research, satellite calibration, scientific research, and communications purposes. The U-2 is one of a handful of aircraft types to have served the USAF for over 50 years, along with the Boeing B-52 and Boeing KC-135. The newest models (TR-1, U-2R, U-2S) entered service in the 1980s, and the latest model, the U-2S, had a technical upgrade in 2012.