USAF has dropped plans to ditch the legendary U2, which was all set to retire around 2019, officials revealed.
“There is not a retirement date for the U-2 in this budget,” Maj. Gen. James Martin, the Air Force’s deputy assistant secretary for budget, said during a budget briefing at the Pentagon. “We plan to keep that platform well into the future.
“It’s a capability that we need and we also need the capacity as well.” Martin added.
US Air Force in 2016 estimated it could save $2.2 billion by retiring the spy plane, as Defense News has reported.
Budget uncertainty in previous years played a role in recent recommendations to retire the U-2, the general said. But “the world changed in August 2014,” he said, in an apparent reference to the start of the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
As a result of additional spending in the recently enacted 2017 budget and the proposed 2018 plan, “We have more resources [where] we can keep both around,” he said of the U-2 and the RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude drone , which was supposed to replace the Dragon Lady.
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