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U-2 Carrier Ops



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 13th 05, 12:29 AM
Greasy Rider© @invalid.com
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default U-2 Carrier Ops

Can't vouch for this item that I found .....




When the U-2 Went to Sea


By Norman Polmar




During 44 years of service with the Central Intelligence Agency and
Air Force, the U-2 spyplane has been flown from bases in the United
States, Britain, Cyprus, France, India, Pakistan, South Korea,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, South Vietnam, and a few other places.

And it has been operated from aircraft carriers.

Even with an operational radius of some 3,000 miles, U-2s flying out
of "safe" land bases could not reach every single area of interest to
the United States intelligence community. Some places were just too
far away. Thus, in the late 1950s, the CIA came up with the idea of
operating U-2s from carriers at sea.

Richard M. Bissell, head of the CIA's U-2 program, recalled, "Navy
officials seemed interested when I approached them, but the Air Force
refused to participate."

In mid-1963 the CIA initiated Project Whale Tale, the goal of which
was to adapt U-2s for carrier operation. The glider-like
configuration of the U-2 made it capable of taking off unassisted
from a carrier when there was a high wind-over-deck factor. Its slow
approach speed made arrested landings relatively easy, with the
carrier's arresting cables kept at their lowest setting. The carrier
could provide 30 knots of wind over deck into the face of the
aircraft, resulting in a closing speed of just 50 knots. The airplane
had plenty of power for a wave-off during landing.

Carrier flight tests commenced in August 1963. In the dead of night,
a Navy crane lifted a U-2 onto the deck of the carrier Kitty Hawk,
which was based at North Island naval air station in San Diego. On the
next morning (Aug. 5), as the ship steamed off the California coast,
Lockheed test pilot Bob Schumacher took off with a full fuel load and
with a deck run of 321 feet.

Hard Landing

Next, Schumacher made a number of practice approaches, and he then
commenced landing. A CIA report said, "Although the takeoff was very
successful, the attempted landing was not. The aircraft bounced, hit
hard on one wingtip, and then just barely managed to become airborne
again before reaching the end of the deck."

The Navy then performed modifications to three U-2A variants. It gave
them stronger landing gear, an arresting hook, and wing "spoilers"
capable of canceling aerodynamic lift when the aircraft came over the
deck. These aircraft were designated as U-2Gs and painted with
N-series civilian serial numbers and Office of Naval Research
markings.

In preparation for further carrier operations, Schumacher and several
other CIA pilots were checked out in the Navy's T-2A Buckeye jet
trainer and made practice landings on the training carrier Lexington.

The first successful carrier landing of a U-2G occurred March 2,
1964. Schumacher made a series of touch-and-go landings aboard the
carrier Ranger steaming off the California coast. He then made the
first full landing of a U-2 aboard a ship. In that first landing, the
hook engaged, but the rear of the U-2 tipped up and the nose dug into
the deck, breaking the pitot tube. After hasty repairs the U-2 was
flown off.

A few days later, Schumacher and CIA pilots made several successful
takeoffs from and landings on Ranger. The upshot of these successful
trials was that the Navy considered five CIA pilots to be
carrier-qualified.

The carrier-based U-2 evidently wasn't in high demand. In fact, it is
known to have flown only one operational mission, as part of
Operation Seeker. It occurred in May 1964. Ranger launched a U-2G
spyplane to monitor nuclear tests carried out by France at Mururoa
atoll, a Pacific test site in French Polynesia. U-2G photographs
indicated that France would be ready for full-scale production of
nuclear weapons within a year.


Above is a USAF U-2A. The Navy gave several U-2As stronger landing
gear, an arresting hook, and spoilers. Designated U-2Gs, they were
prepared for carrier operations in an effort to extend the range of
US intelligence gathering.

( Sorry-No photo attached )

Bigger Aircraft

Several more CIA pilots became carrier-qualified over the next few
years, but the only significant event concerned a change in aircraft
when the program went to the U-2R.

The U-2R variant, which entered service in 1967, was 40 percent
larger than the earlier U-2. It had twice the range and could carry a
payload four times as large. The Navy aircraft had an arresting hook.
The outer six feet of each wing folded back to facilitate handling
aboard ship. The aircraft bore the fictitious Navy markings N812X.

The trials of the U-2R, using the deck of the carrier America, took
place during the period Nov. 21-23, 1969, off the Virginia Capes. One
of the pilots was Bill Park, a former Air Force fighter pilot and
senior Lockheed test pilot. He was joined by four CIA pilots. The
five of them underwent an abbreviated carrier training course and then
flew the America trials.

Testers aborted the first landing attempt when they discovered that
the ground crew had left the locking pin in the tailhook assembly.
The rest were successful. In a report on the subsequent trials, Park
said:

"The airplane demonstrated good wave-off characteristics, and I felt
at the time that landing could be made without a hook. We required
very little special handling and even took the airplane down to the
hangar deck. The outer 70 inches of the wings fold and by careful
placement on the elevator we could get it in [the hangar] with no
problem."

For all that, the idea of the seagoing U-2 just never generated much
enthusiasm. The official CIA history contends that the agency
conducted no further U-2 missions from an aircraft carrier. It said:
"Aircraft carriers are enormously expensive to operate and require an
entire flotilla of vessels to protect and service them. The movement
of large numbers of big ships is difficult to conceal and cannot be
hastily accomplished, while the deployment of a solitary U-2 to a
remote airfield can take place overnight."


A U-2R undergoes carrier qualifications on USS America in November
1969. By this time, the spyplane was 40 percent larger than earlier
versions, but its wings folded up and it required little special
handling on the carrier.


The Navy wasn't finished with the U-2, however. In a separate program
in 1973-74, two U-2R aircraft were modified to the U-2EPX
configuration for evaluation by the US Navy for the ocean surveillance
role. During the evaluation the airplanes were fitted with a
derivative of the AN/ALQ-110 Big Look surveillance system, a modified
AN/APS-116 forward-looking radar (useful for detecting surface ships
and periscopes or snorkels of submerged submarines), and an infrared
detection unit. The radar, fitted in the U-2's sensor or "Q" bay, had
an antenna protruding below the fuselage in an inflatable radome.

The U-2EPX was to link its radar to surface ships under a program
known as Outlaw Hawk. Other sensors, including space- and land-based,
were to be linked to a command center ashore and, subsequently,
fitted in the carrier Kitty Hawk. During the Outlaw Hawk exercise
involving Kitty Hawk, the carrier steamed from San Diego to Pearl
Harbor, with the U-2s flying from California. (The participation of
U-2s in another Outlaw Hawk exercise in the Mediterranean was
canceled.) The U-2EPX concept died because of high costs and the
promised effectiveness of satellites for ocean surveillance.

Lockheed, ever hopeful of an enlarged U-2 program, also proposed the
315B design, a two-seat variant that would carry Condor anti-ship
missiles under its wings. Development of the Condor missile-which was
to have carried a conventional or W73 nuclear warhead-was canceled
before becoming operational. Yet another "payload" envisioned for
U-2s in this period was a pair of drones that would be released to
serve as decoys for missiles fired against the U-2.

Still, no U-2 variant ever entered naval service. At the same time,
Boeing proposed a much larger aircraft of this type (i.e., a powered
glider with a 200-foot wingspan) for the ocean surveillance role. The
Navy did not build it.

The carrier and naval aspects of U-2 development and operations,
though interesting, occupy but a few pages in the record of the U-2
spyplane, a most unusual and important aircraft.
  #2  
Old July 13th 05, 01:33 AM
Al Coward
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Yep, The Hawk part is correct. I was assistant V-2 Officer on the carrier at
the time. Geez, that was a while ago. Had forgotten about it.

Southernwings


Greasy Rider© @invalid.com wrote in message
...
Can't vouch for this item that I found .....




When the U-2 Went to Sea


By Norman Polmar




During 44 years of service with the Central Intelligence Agency and
Air Force, the U-2 spyplane has been flown from bases in the United
States, Britain, Cyprus, France, India, Pakistan, South Korea,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, South Vietnam, and a few other places.

And it has been operated from aircraft carriers.

Even with an operational radius of some 3,000 miles, U-2s flying out
of "safe" land bases could not reach every single area of interest to
the United States intelligence community. Some places were just too
far away. Thus, in the late 1950s, the CIA came up with the idea of
operating U-2s from carriers at sea.

Richard M. Bissell, head of the CIA's U-2 program, recalled, "Navy
officials seemed interested when I approached them, but the Air Force
refused to participate."

In mid-1963 the CIA initiated Project Whale Tale, the goal of which
was to adapt U-2s for carrier operation. The glider-like
configuration of the U-2 made it capable of taking off unassisted
from a carrier when there was a high wind-over-deck factor. Its slow
approach speed made arrested landings relatively easy, with the
carrier's arresting cables kept at their lowest setting. The carrier
could provide 30 knots of wind over deck into the face of the
aircraft, resulting in a closing speed of just 50 knots. The airplane
had plenty of power for a wave-off during landing.

Carrier flight tests commenced in August 1963. In the dead of night,
a Navy crane lifted a U-2 onto the deck of the carrier Kitty Hawk,
which was based at North Island naval air station in San Diego. On the
next morning (Aug. 5), as the ship steamed off the California coast,
Lockheed test pilot Bob Schumacher took off with a full fuel load and
with a deck run of 321 feet.

Hard Landing

Next, Schumacher made a number of practice approaches, and he then
commenced landing. A CIA report said, "Although the takeoff was very
successful, the attempted landing was not. The aircraft bounced, hit
hard on one wingtip, and then just barely managed to become airborne
again before reaching the end of the deck."

The Navy then performed modifications to three U-2A variants. It gave
them stronger landing gear, an arresting hook, and wing "spoilers"
capable of canceling aerodynamic lift when the aircraft came over the
deck. These aircraft were designated as U-2Gs and painted with
N-series civilian serial numbers and Office of Naval Research
markings.

In preparation for further carrier operations, Schumacher and several
other CIA pilots were checked out in the Navy's T-2A Buckeye jet
trainer and made practice landings on the training carrier Lexington.

The first successful carrier landing of a U-2G occurred March 2,
1964. Schumacher made a series of touch-and-go landings aboard the
carrier Ranger steaming off the California coast. He then made the
first full landing of a U-2 aboard a ship. In that first landing, the
hook engaged, but the rear of the U-2 tipped up and the nose dug into
the deck, breaking the pitot tube. After hasty repairs the U-2 was
flown off.

A few days later, Schumacher and CIA pilots made several successful
takeoffs from and landings on Ranger. The upshot of these successful
trials was that the Navy considered five CIA pilots to be
carrier-qualified.

The carrier-based U-2 evidently wasn't in high demand. In fact, it is
known to have flown only one operational mission, as part of
Operation Seeker. It occurred in May 1964. Ranger launched a U-2G
spyplane to monitor nuclear tests carried out by France at Mururoa
atoll, a Pacific test site in French Polynesia. U-2G photographs
indicated that France would be ready for full-scale production of
nuclear weapons within a year.


Above is a USAF U-2A. The Navy gave several U-2As stronger landing
gear, an arresting hook, and spoilers. Designated U-2Gs, they were
prepared for carrier operations in an effort to extend the range of
US intelligence gathering.

( Sorry-No photo attached )

Bigger Aircraft

Several more CIA pilots became carrier-qualified over the next few
years, but the only significant event concerned a change in aircraft
when the program went to the U-2R.

The U-2R variant, which entered service in 1967, was 40 percent
larger than the earlier U-2. It had twice the range and could carry a
payload four times as large. The Navy aircraft had an arresting hook.
The outer six feet of each wing folded back to facilitate handling
aboard ship. The aircraft bore the fictitious Navy markings N812X.

The trials of the U-2R, using the deck of the carrier America, took
place during the period Nov. 21-23, 1969, off the Virginia Capes. One
of the pilots was Bill Park, a former Air Force fighter pilot and
senior Lockheed test pilot. He was joined by four CIA pilots. The
five of them underwent an abbreviated carrier training course and then
flew the America trials.

Testers aborted the first landing attempt when they discovered that
the ground crew had left the locking pin in the tailhook assembly.
The rest were successful. In a report on the subsequent trials, Park
said:

"The airplane demonstrated good wave-off characteristics, and I felt
at the time that landing could be made without a hook. We required
very little special handling and even took the airplane down to the
hangar deck. The outer 70 inches of the wings fold and by careful
placement on the elevator we could get it in [the hangar] with no
problem."

For all that, the idea of the seagoing U-2 just never generated much
enthusiasm. The official CIA history contends that the agency
conducted no further U-2 missions from an aircraft carrier. It said:
"Aircraft carriers are enormously expensive to operate and require an
entire flotilla of vessels to protect and service them. The movement
of large numbers of big ships is difficult to conceal and cannot be
hastily accomplished, while the deployment of a solitary U-2 to a
remote airfield can take place overnight."


A U-2R undergoes carrier qualifications on USS America in November
1969. By this time, the spyplane was 40 percent larger than earlier
versions, but its wings folded up and it required little special
handling on the carrier.


The Navy wasn't finished with the U-2, however. In a separate program
in 1973-74, two U-2R aircraft were modified to the U-2EPX
configuration for evaluation by the US Navy for the ocean surveillance
role. During the evaluation the airplanes were fitted with a
derivative of the AN/ALQ-110 Big Look surveillance system, a modified
AN/APS-116 forward-looking radar (useful for detecting surface ships
and periscopes or snorkels of submerged submarines), and an infrared
detection unit. The radar, fitted in the U-2's sensor or "Q" bay, had
an antenna protruding below the fuselage in an inflatable radome.

The U-2EPX was to link its radar to surface ships under a program
known as Outlaw Hawk. Other sensors, including space- and land-based,
were to be linked to a command center ashore and, subsequently,
fitted in the carrier Kitty Hawk. During the Outlaw Hawk exercise
involving Kitty Hawk, the carrier steamed from San Diego to Pearl
Harbor, with the U-2s flying from California. (The participation of
U-2s in another Outlaw Hawk exercise in the Mediterranean was
canceled.) The U-2EPX concept died because of high costs and the
promised effectiveness of satellites for ocean surveillance.

Lockheed, ever hopeful of an enlarged U-2 program, also proposed the
315B design, a two-seat variant that would carry Condor anti-ship
missiles under its wings. Development of the Condor missile-which was
to have carried a conventional or W73 nuclear warhead-was canceled
before becoming operational. Yet another "payload" envisioned for
U-2s in this period was a pair of drones that would be released to
serve as decoys for missiles fired against the U-2.

Still, no U-2 variant ever entered naval service. At the same time,
Boeing proposed a much larger aircraft of this type (i.e., a powered
glider with a 200-foot wingspan) for the ocean surveillance role. The
Navy did not build it.

The carrier and naval aspects of U-2 development and operations,
though interesting, occupy but a few pages in the record of the U-2
spyplane, a most unusual and important aircraft.



  #3  
Old July 13th 05, 05:51 AM
Yeff
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Tue, 12 Jul 2005 23:29:13 GMT, Greasy Rider© wrote:

Can't vouch for this item that I found .....


It's from Air Force Magazine and the article (with photos) can be found
he http://www.afa.org/magazine/feb2001/0201spyplane_print.html

--

-Jeff B.
zoomie at fastmail fm
  #4  
Old July 13th 05, 12:14 PM
Jim
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Check out this web site. Great picture.

http://www.ussamerica.org/Airwing.htm

Greasy Rider© @invalid.com wrote in message
...
Can't vouch for this item that I found .....




When the U-2 Went to Sea


By Norman Polmar




During 44 years of service with the Central Intelligence Agency and
Air Force, the U-2 spyplane has been flown from bases in the United
States, Britain, Cyprus, France, India, Pakistan, South Korea,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, South Vietnam, and a few other places.

And it has been operated from aircraft carriers.

Even with an operational radius of some 3,000 miles, U-2s flying out
of "safe" land bases could not reach every single area of interest to
the United States intelligence community. Some places were just too
far away. Thus, in the late 1950s, the CIA came up with the idea of
operating U-2s from carriers at sea.

Richard M. Bissell, head of the CIA's U-2 program, recalled, "Navy
officials seemed interested when I approached them, but the Air Force
refused to participate."

In mid-1963 the CIA initiated Project Whale Tale, the goal of which
was to adapt U-2s for carrier operation. The glider-like
configuration of the U-2 made it capable of taking off unassisted
from a carrier when there was a high wind-over-deck factor. Its slow
approach speed made arrested landings relatively easy, with the
carrier's arresting cables kept at their lowest setting. The carrier
could provide 30 knots of wind over deck into the face of the
aircraft, resulting in a closing speed of just 50 knots. The airplane
had plenty of power for a wave-off during landing.

Carrier flight tests commenced in August 1963. In the dead of night,
a Navy crane lifted a U-2 onto the deck of the carrier Kitty Hawk,
which was based at North Island naval air station in San Diego. On the
next morning (Aug. 5), as the ship steamed off the California coast,
Lockheed test pilot Bob Schumacher took off with a full fuel load and
with a deck run of 321 feet.

Hard Landing

Next, Schumacher made a number of practice approaches, and he then
commenced landing. A CIA report said, "Although the takeoff was very
successful, the attempted landing was not. The aircraft bounced, hit
hard on one wingtip, and then just barely managed to become airborne
again before reaching the end of the deck."

The Navy then performed modifications to three U-2A variants. It gave
them stronger landing gear, an arresting hook, and wing "spoilers"
capable of canceling aerodynamic lift when the aircraft came over the
deck. These aircraft were designated as U-2Gs and painted with
N-series civilian serial numbers and Office of Naval Research
markings.

In preparation for further carrier operations, Schumacher and several
other CIA pilots were checked out in the Navy's T-2A Buckeye jet
trainer and made practice landings on the training carrier Lexington.

The first successful carrier landing of a U-2G occurred March 2,
1964. Schumacher made a series of touch-and-go landings aboard the
carrier Ranger steaming off the California coast. He then made the
first full landing of a U-2 aboard a ship. In that first landing, the
hook engaged, but the rear of the U-2 tipped up and the nose dug into
the deck, breaking the pitot tube. After hasty repairs the U-2 was
flown off.

A few days later, Schumacher and CIA pilots made several successful
takeoffs from and landings on Ranger. The upshot of these successful
trials was that the Navy considered five CIA pilots to be
carrier-qualified.

The carrier-based U-2 evidently wasn't in high demand. In fact, it is
known to have flown only one operational mission, as part of
Operation Seeker. It occurred in May 1964. Ranger launched a U-2G
spyplane to monitor nuclear tests carried out by France at Mururoa
atoll, a Pacific test site in French Polynesia. U-2G photographs
indicated that France would be ready for full-scale production of
nuclear weapons within a year.


Above is a USAF U-2A. The Navy gave several U-2As stronger landing
gear, an arresting hook, and spoilers. Designated U-2Gs, they were
prepared for carrier operations in an effort to extend the range of
US intelligence gathering.

( Sorry-No photo attached )

Bigger Aircraft

Several more CIA pilots became carrier-qualified over the next few
years, but the only significant event concerned a change in aircraft
when the program went to the U-2R.

The U-2R variant, which entered service in 1967, was 40 percent
larger than the earlier U-2. It had twice the range and could carry a
payload four times as large. The Navy aircraft had an arresting hook.
The outer six feet of each wing folded back to facilitate handling
aboard ship. The aircraft bore the fictitious Navy markings N812X.

The trials of the U-2R, using the deck of the carrier America, took
place during the period Nov. 21-23, 1969, off the Virginia Capes. One
of the pilots was Bill Park, a former Air Force fighter pilot and
senior Lockheed test pilot. He was joined by four CIA pilots. The
five of them underwent an abbreviated carrier training course and then
flew the America trials.

Testers aborted the first landing attempt when they discovered that
the ground crew had left the locking pin in the tailhook assembly.
The rest were successful. In a report on the subsequent trials, Park
said:

"The airplane demonstrated good wave-off characteristics, and I felt
at the time that landing could be made without a hook. We required
very little special handling and even took the airplane down to the
hangar deck. The outer 70 inches of the wings fold and by careful
placement on the elevator we could get it in [the hangar] with no
problem."

For all that, the idea of the seagoing U-2 just never generated much
enthusiasm. The official CIA history contends that the agency
conducted no further U-2 missions from an aircraft carrier. It said:
"Aircraft carriers are enormously expensive to operate and require an
entire flotilla of vessels to protect and service them. The movement
of large numbers of big ships is difficult to conceal and cannot be
hastily accomplished, while the deployment of a solitary U-2 to a
remote airfield can take place overnight."


A U-2R undergoes carrier qualifications on USS America in November
1969. By this time, the spyplane was 40 percent larger than earlier
versions, but its wings folded up and it required little special
handling on the carrier.


The Navy wasn't finished with the U-2, however. In a separate program
in 1973-74, two U-2R aircraft were modified to the U-2EPX
configuration for evaluation by the US Navy for the ocean surveillance
role. During the evaluation the airplanes were fitted with a
derivative of the AN/ALQ-110 Big Look surveillance system, a modified
AN/APS-116 forward-looking radar (useful for detecting surface ships
and periscopes or snorkels of submerged submarines), and an infrared
detection unit. The radar, fitted in the U-2's sensor or "Q" bay, had
an antenna protruding below the fuselage in an inflatable radome.

The U-2EPX was to link its radar to surface ships under a program
known as Outlaw Hawk. Other sensors, including space- and land-based,
were to be linked to a command center ashore and, subsequently,
fitted in the carrier Kitty Hawk. During the Outlaw Hawk exercise
involving Kitty Hawk, the carrier steamed from San Diego to Pearl
Harbor, with the U-2s flying from California. (The participation of
U-2s in another Outlaw Hawk exercise in the Mediterranean was
canceled.) The U-2EPX concept died because of high costs and the
promised effectiveness of satellites for ocean surveillance.

Lockheed, ever hopeful of an enlarged U-2 program, also proposed the
315B design, a two-seat variant that would carry Condor anti-ship
missiles under its wings. Development of the Condor missile-which was
to have carried a conventional or W73 nuclear warhead-was canceled
before becoming operational. Yet another "payload" envisioned for
U-2s in this period was a pair of drones that would be released to
serve as decoys for missiles fired against the U-2.

Still, no U-2 variant ever entered naval service. At the same time,
Boeing proposed a much larger aircraft of this type (i.e., a powered
glider with a 200-foot wingspan) for the ocean surveillance role. The
Navy did not build it.

The carrier and naval aspects of U-2 development and operations,
though interesting, occupy but a few pages in the record of the U-2
spyplane, a most unusual and important aircraft.



  #5  
Old July 13th 05, 07:02 PM
Red Rider
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"wdossel" wrote in message
...
On Tue, 12 Jul 2005 23:29:13 GMT, Greasy Rider© @invalid.com wrote:

Can't vouch for this item that I found .....




When the U-2 Went to Sea


By Norman Polmar

(snip)

I'll vouch for the article as well -- during one of my joint penance
tours in the 5-sided wind tunnel I was responsible for U-2 program
items (yeah, made for some interesting moments, a lone khaki in a sea
of AF blue at conferences) which included compilation of the CIA
history of the U-2 and SR-71. Great book -- wonder if it has been
declassified yet? (IIRC it was titled "Oxcarts and Archangels"?)

Will Dossel
Last of the Steeljaws (VAW-122)
Will Dossel
Last of the Steeljaws (VAW-122)


No! And we will have to kill you for even mentioning the title.

Red


  #6  
Old July 13th 05, 11:03 PM
Merlin Dorfman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

In rec.aviation.military Greasy wrote:

....


Still, no U-2 variant ever entered naval service. At the same time,
Boeing proposed a much larger aircraft of this type (i.e., a powered
glider with a 200-foot wingspan) for the ocean surveillance role. The
Navy did not build it.


I wonder if this could be (or be a variant of) the Boeing
Condor which is on display at the Hiller Aviation Museum:
http://www.hiller.org/condor.shtml

  #7  
Old July 14th 05, 09:09 PM
Megan
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

When I was at Beale they always said they quit using carriers because the
chase cars couldn't stop fast enough


Greasy Rider© @invalid.com wrote in message
...
Can't vouch for this item that I found .....




When the U-2 Went to Sea


By Norman Polmar




During 44 years of service with the Central Intelligence Agency and
Air Force, the U-2 spyplane has been flown from bases in the United
States, Britain, Cyprus, France, India, Pakistan, South Korea,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, South Vietnam, and a few other places.

And it has been operated from aircraft carriers.

Even with an operational radius of some 3,000 miles, U-2s flying out
of "safe" land bases could not reach every single area of interest to
the United States intelligence community. Some places were just too
far away. Thus, in the late 1950s, the CIA came up with the idea of
operating U-2s from carriers at sea.

Richard M. Bissell, head of the CIA's U-2 program, recalled, "Navy
officials seemed interested when I approached them, but the Air Force
refused to participate."

In mid-1963 the CIA initiated Project Whale Tale, the goal of which
was to adapt U-2s for carrier operation. The glider-like
configuration of the U-2 made it capable of taking off unassisted
from a carrier when there was a high wind-over-deck factor. Its slow
approach speed made arrested landings relatively easy, with the
carrier's arresting cables kept at their lowest setting. The carrier
could provide 30 knots of wind over deck into the face of the
aircraft, resulting in a closing speed of just 50 knots. The airplane
had plenty of power for a wave-off during landing.

Carrier flight tests commenced in August 1963. In the dead of night,
a Navy crane lifted a U-2 onto the deck of the carrier Kitty Hawk,
which was based at North Island naval air station in San Diego. On the
next morning (Aug. 5), as the ship steamed off the California coast,
Lockheed test pilot Bob Schumacher took off with a full fuel load and
with a deck run of 321 feet.

Hard Landing

Next, Schumacher made a number of practice approaches, and he then
commenced landing. A CIA report said, "Although the takeoff was very
successful, the attempted landing was not. The aircraft bounced, hit
hard on one wingtip, and then just barely managed to become airborne
again before reaching the end of the deck."

The Navy then performed modifications to three U-2A variants. It gave
them stronger landing gear, an arresting hook, and wing "spoilers"
capable of canceling aerodynamic lift when the aircraft came over the
deck. These aircraft were designated as U-2Gs and painted with
N-series civilian serial numbers and Office of Naval Research
markings.

In preparation for further carrier operations, Schumacher and several
other CIA pilots were checked out in the Navy's T-2A Buckeye jet
trainer and made practice landings on the training carrier Lexington.

The first successful carrier landing of a U-2G occurred March 2,
1964. Schumacher made a series of touch-and-go landings aboard the
carrier Ranger steaming off the California coast. He then made the
first full landing of a U-2 aboard a ship. In that first landing, the
hook engaged, but the rear of the U-2 tipped up and the nose dug into
the deck, breaking the pitot tube. After hasty repairs the U-2 was
flown off.

A few days later, Schumacher and CIA pilots made several successful
takeoffs from and landings on Ranger. The upshot of these successful
trials was that the Navy considered five CIA pilots to be
carrier-qualified.

The carrier-based U-2 evidently wasn't in high demand. In fact, it is
known to have flown only one operational mission, as part of
Operation Seeker. It occurred in May 1964. Ranger launched a U-2G
spyplane to monitor nuclear tests carried out by France at Mururoa
atoll, a Pacific test site in French Polynesia. U-2G photographs
indicated that France would be ready for full-scale production of
nuclear weapons within a year.


Above is a USAF U-2A. The Navy gave several U-2As stronger landing
gear, an arresting hook, and spoilers. Designated U-2Gs, they were
prepared for carrier operations in an effort to extend the range of
US intelligence gathering.

( Sorry-No photo attached )

Bigger Aircraft

Several more CIA pilots became carrier-qualified over the next few
years, but the only significant event concerned a change in aircraft
when the program went to the U-2R.

The U-2R variant, which entered service in 1967, was 40 percent
larger than the earlier U-2. It had twice the range and could carry a
payload four times as large. The Navy aircraft had an arresting hook.
The outer six feet of each wing folded back to facilitate handling
aboard ship. The aircraft bore the fictitious Navy markings N812X.

The trials of the U-2R, using the deck of the carrier America, took
place during the period Nov. 21-23, 1969, off the Virginia Capes. One
of the pilots was Bill Park, a former Air Force fighter pilot and
senior Lockheed test pilot. He was joined by four CIA pilots. The
five of them underwent an abbreviated carrier training course and then
flew the America trials.

Testers aborted the first landing attempt when they discovered that
the ground crew had left the locking pin in the tailhook assembly.
The rest were successful. In a report on the subsequent trials, Park
said:

"The airplane demonstrated good wave-off characteristics, and I felt
at the time that landing could be made without a hook. We required
very little special handling and even took the airplane down to the
hangar deck. The outer 70 inches of the wings fold and by careful
placement on the elevator we could get it in [the hangar] with no
problem."

For all that, the idea of the seagoing U-2 just never generated much
enthusiasm. The official CIA history contends that the agency
conducted no further U-2 missions from an aircraft carrier. It said:
"Aircraft carriers are enormously expensive to operate and require an
entire flotilla of vessels to protect and service them. The movement
of large numbers of big ships is difficult to conceal and cannot be
hastily accomplished, while the deployment of a solitary U-2 to a
remote airfield can take place overnight."


A U-2R undergoes carrier qualifications on USS America in November
1969. By this time, the spyplane was 40 percent larger than earlier
versions, but its wings folded up and it required little special
handling on the carrier.


The Navy wasn't finished with the U-2, however. In a separate program
in 1973-74, two U-2R aircraft were modified to the U-2EPX
configuration for evaluation by the US Navy for the ocean surveillance
role. During the evaluation the airplanes were fitted with a
derivative of the AN/ALQ-110 Big Look surveillance system, a modified
AN/APS-116 forward-looking radar (useful for detecting surface ships
and periscopes or snorkels of submerged submarines), and an infrared
detection unit. The radar, fitted in the U-2's sensor or "Q" bay, had
an antenna protruding below the fuselage in an inflatable radome.

The U-2EPX was to link its radar to surface ships under a program
known as Outlaw Hawk. Other sensors, including space- and land-based,
were to be linked to a command center ashore and, subsequently,
fitted in the carrier Kitty Hawk. During the Outlaw Hawk exercise
involving Kitty Hawk, the carrier steamed from San Diego to Pearl
Harbor, with the U-2s flying from California. (The participation of
U-2s in another Outlaw Hawk exercise in the Mediterranean was
canceled.) The U-2EPX concept died because of high costs and the
promised effectiveness of satellites for ocean surveillance.

Lockheed, ever hopeful of an enlarged U-2 program, also proposed the
315B design, a two-seat variant that would carry Condor anti-ship
missiles under its wings. Development of the Condor missile-which was
to have carried a conventional or W73 nuclear warhead-was canceled
before becoming operational. Yet another "payload" envisioned for
U-2s in this period was a pair of drones that would be released to
serve as decoys for missiles fired against the U-2.

Still, no U-2 variant ever entered naval service. At the same time,
Boeing proposed a much larger aircraft of this type (i.e., a powered
glider with a 200-foot wingspan) for the ocean surveillance role. The
Navy did not build it.

The carrier and naval aspects of U-2 development and operations,
though interesting, occupy but a few pages in the record of the U-2
spyplane, a most unusual and important aircraft.



  #8  
Old July 14th 05, 11:38 PM
Greasy Rider© @ invalid.com
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 14 Jul 2005 16:09:32 -0400, "Megan"
postulated :
When I was at Beale they always said they quit using carriers because the
chase cars couldn't stop fast enough


Brings new meaning to the old saying:
"One a day in Tampa Bay" ...

 




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