Uses in the 2000s

Materials arranged chronologically.

Best, Richard A., Jr. Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR): The U-2 Aircraft and Global Hawk UAV Programs. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 1 Dec. 2000. Available at:

From"Summary": "Key concerns are whether manned aircraft can be completely replaced by UAVs, the time that it will take to integrate the Global Hawks into the operating force structure, and the availability of adequate funds to support the acquisition of Global Hawks without compromising vital operational capabilities for an extended period."

Gentile, Keith. "U-2s Look Deep and Accurate." Airman 44, no. 6 (Jun. 2000): 44-45.

Periodical Abstracts: "The 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron's involvement in Operation Allied Force [against Yugoslavia] included intelligence surveillance work over enemy territory, where the U-2 pilots located missile sites and aircraft."

Loeb, Vernon. "IntelligenCIA: Wanting the SR-71 Blackbird to Soar Once Again." Washington Post, 26 Jun. 2000. []

Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA), "whose district includes Lockheed Martin's legendary Skunk Works, where the SR-71 and the U-2 were secretly designed, can't quite give up the idea of a comeback" for the SR-71 Blackbird. He tried in 1997 and again last year to reactivate the legendary plane.

Clark comment: If a U.S. Congressman cannot figure out why the Air Force maintains such a high level of antipathy to this aircraft, having virtually refused to use it, then it remains unlikely that those among us unknowledgeable about matters aviation, yet convinced of the rationality of having a plane such as the SR-71 in our national security arsenal, can possibly understand what is going on here.

Bamford, James. "The Dangers of Spy Planes." New York Times, 5 Apr. 2001. [http://www.]

The author uses the latest U.S.-China spy plane incident to consider whether the use of spy planes for electronic monitoring "is still useful or if, with the end of the cold war, the risks now outweigh any advantage.... The United States now has intelligence satellites that can eavesdrop on conversations almost anywhere in the world.... And land-based listening posts in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere are equipped with giant antenna farms focused on Chinese military, naval and diplomatic communications. There are good reasons to consider ending our frequent, provocative, costly and often redundant close-in air patrols."

Grier, Peter. "A Quarter Century of AWACS." Air Force Magazine, Mar. 2002, 42-47.

This is a compact look backward and forward on the use of AWACS.

Kaufman, Gail. "Air Force to Upgrade its Rivet Joint Fleet." Air Force Times, 11 Nov. 2002, 34.

Fulghum, David A.

1. "Storied Rivet Joint Adds New Missions." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 25 Nov. 2002, 54-55.

Expanding mission to include "real-time battlefield" intelligence.

2. "Upgraded Rivet Joints Prepared to Deploy." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 25 Nov. 2002, 56-58.

Hess, Pamela. "Pentagon to Retire U-2 Spy Plane." United Press International, 4 Jan. 2006. []

According to Pentagon, industry, and congressional officials, Program Budget Decision (PBD) 720 calls for the termination by 2011 of the U-2 reconnaissance airplane. Three U-2s are to be retired in 2007, six in 2008, seven in both 2009 and 2010 and the final 10 in 2011. The plane will "likely be supplanted by the ... high-altitude Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle." Previous "attempts to retire the U-2 have been rebuffed by Congress."

Merle, Renae. "Army Ends Lockheed Contract for New Spy Plane." Washington Post, 13 Jan. 2006, A8. []

On 12 January 2006, the U.S. Army "canceled its contract" with Lockheed Martin Corp. for a new spy plane, known as the Aerial Common Sensor. The program had "developed technical problems that military officials determined were too expensive to fix." Claude M. Bolton, the Army's acquisition chief, said in a letter to Congress that the Army "would open a new competition for the plane in 2009.... The planes that the Aerial Common Sensor was to replace, the Army's Guardrail Common Sensor and Airborne Reconnaissance Low and the Navy's EP-3E, will continue to operate."

Fulghum, David A., and Robert Wall. "Boeing Polishes 737 Design For EP-3 Replacement." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 29 Jan. 2006. []

"Boeing is polishing the design of an EP-3-replacement signals intelligence aircraft for use by the U.S. Navy and possibly for the export market. Moreover, the airframe builder believes the new airplane (a derivative of the P-8A multimission maritime aircraft) could appeal across service lines, perhaps to the U.S. Air Force, which some Pentagon critics contend is not focusing on keeping its lead in state-of-the-art intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems."

CNN. "Sources: U.S. Spy Planes Watching Iraqi-Turkish Border." 31 Oct. 2007. []

U.S. military sources said on 31 October 2007 that "American U2 reconnaissance planes have been flying over the Turkey-Iraq border to observe military movements.... Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed [on 31 October 2007] that U.S. military and intelligence communities are sharing information with Turkey to help them fight members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who have made cross-border attacks."

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