It is extremely difficult to differentiate between the U-2R and TR-1A when the latter is devoid of its superpods. The second TR-1A, 80-1067, is seen during a test flight over southern California. Discernible is single ECM antenna on the starboard wing trailing edge.
The long nose of this U-2R, 68-10336. distinguishes it from all others: it is reported to house the Hughes ASARS developed for the TR-1A. Note the external ribbing on the leading-edge of the tailplane, required to counter a buffet-induced fatigue problem.
The Lockheed U-2R serial 68-10336, with extended nose to accommodate a very large side-looking radar equipment.
A view of the first TR-1A, 80-1066, taken with a super-wide-angle lens, illustrating well the type's 103-ft (31,4-m) span wing.
The sole ER-2 is seen during its delivery flight to NASA Ames from Palmdale bearing attractive new NASA grey, blue and white scheme. It was unpainted for its earlier test flights.
The prototype U- 2R, N-803X (one of a block of 10 civil registrations assigned Lockheed and the CIA for U-2 identification and arbitrarily assigned to aircraft as needed) was not painted during early days of flight testing at Palmdale, Groom Lake and Edwards AFB.
The first batch of six U-2Rs was assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency. N-810X is seen at Edwards North Base during preliminary flight testing. The white anti-glare hood on canopy is noteworthy as this was eventually repainted black on all U-2s.
U-2Rs have a superpod capability and in recent years have been seen mounting SLRs therein. U-2R 68-10339 is here seen taxying at Mildenhall with full fuel load, ready to depart on a 10-hour surveillance mission.
The TR-1A, 80-1069, taxies out on a mission from Beale AFB. Pogo gear, also referred to as outriggers and balancers, are jettisoned by the pilot as the wings attain lift.
U-2R 68-10337 is seen during a temporary stop-over at the 55th SRW’s facilities in Omaha, Nebraska.
Departing Offutt AFB, Nebraska, U-2R 68-10338 heads skywards for a return mission to Beale AFB. California. The U-2R's initial rate of ascent is comparable to that of the majority of the operational fighters in the present Air Force inventory.
U-2R 68-10339 is seen departing Mildenhall while transporting an extensive ELINT equipment collection.
The distinctive high-aspect-ratio wing of the U-2R is obvious in this view. The trailing edge flaps are seen in the gust mode - which permits safer operation at higher Mach numbers and in gusty wind conditions and basically prevents overstressing of the wing.
TR-1 80-1070 on finals to Alconbury earlier this year. The white underwing patches are ice, which forms as the aircraft descends through the atmosphere from the cold upper reaches. This TR-1 is unusual in that the ELINT/ COMINT antennae are supplemented by a photo-reconnaissance camera system housed in the Q-bay.
U-2R 68-10337 on finals to Beale AFB, accommodating what must be the most extensive antenna "farm" and sensor pod complement ever seen on a single-engined aircraft. SIGINT, COMINT and ELINT missions are the U-2R’s forte, and optical sensors are now the exception rather than the rule.
Unquestionably the most unusual U-2R nose modification seen to date is that for the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System (ASARS) test-bed aircraft, 68-10336. The ASARS unit, the product of Hughes Aircraft Company, has suffered teething problems but is now in production
An inflatable radome modification was tested on U-2R 68-10339 in mid-1976. Housing a sensitive directional radar system built by Hughes, the radome was apparently made of a mylar material coated with rubber. A zip-fastener provided access to the antenna inside.
Very few modifications to the U-2R were required to make the aircraft carrier-compatible for US Navy trials. The most noteworthy change was the addition of a "strap-on" arrester hook and wing tip skid extensions. Because of its exceptional thrust-to-weight ratio and very high L/D (lift over drag), it did not require steam catapult assist during the take-off roll. Wind-over-deck speeds were usually more than sufficient to get the aircraft off the deck in less than 300ft (91 m).
The first of two TR-1B trainers, 80-1064, is seen during acceptance trials near Palmdale, California. The elevated rear cockpit replaces the sensor system Q-bay.
Second TR-1B, 80-1065, taxies out from Beale AFB on a training mission.
The S-1010B suit is of the full-pressure type, designed for sustained high-altitude operation. It is quite similar to suits worn by US astronaut corps. Suit is shown with portable oxygen and air conditioning pack.
Cockpit of the ER-2 is very similar to that found in operational TR-1As. Most dominant feature is the centrally-mounted drift sight, which is basically a sophisticated periscope for viewing target areas underneath aircraft.