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US spy plane crashes in SW Asia

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US spy plane crashes in SW Asia

A US Air Force U-2 spy plane has crashed in south-west Asia killing the pilot, the US military has said.

The crash occurred at 2330 GMT on Tuesday, when the pilot was returning to base after completing a mission in support of US forces in Afghanistan.

A military spokesman said the location of the crash would not be released because of "host nation sensitivity".

The U-2 is a high-altitude surveillance aircraft first developed in the Cold War and manned by a single pilot.

Regional sensitivities

The cause of the crash is not known and US Central Command said a full investigation would be convened.

The site of the crash has been secured to ensure the safety of local citizens and the integrity of the site for the investigation team, the statement said.

"The specific location is not releasable due to host nation sensitivities," US Air Force Capt David W Small, a Central Command spokesman, said.

Correspondents say south-west Asia is a phrase often used by the US military to refer to the Middle East.

The name of the pilot will not be released until next of kin are informed.

"The airmen of the 380th Expeditionary Wing mourn the loss of a true American hero in the service of his country," Col Darryl Burke, the wing's commander, said in a statement.

The long, thin plane, with a wing-span of 100 feet (30.5m) is able to cruise at 90,000ft (27,430m) - more than 17 miles (27km) up - so high that the pilot has to wear a spacesuit.

Cold War stalwart

The U-2 was an invaluable US surveillance tool during the Cold War, able to photograph Soviet military facilities and operating in great secrecy out of Adana in Turkey - later renamed the Incirlik airbase.

In 1960 a U-2 was shot down by a volley of Soviet surface-to-air missiles. The pilot, Gary Powers, ejected but was captured and held for two years on spying charges.

It was also a U-2 that took the photographs of Soviet missiles being put into Cuba in October 1962.

Defence experts say the original U-2 aircraft were highly unsafe, and 80-90% of them eventually crashed or were shot down.

But later versions, the U-2R and U-2S, though 40% bigger are much more reliable.

Of the estimated 35 currently in service, five have crashed and another has been badly damaged.

One of the incidents involved a crash near the South Korean capital Seoul in 2003.

In that incident the pilot managed to eject safely and suffered only minor injuries.

However, three people on the ground were wounded when the plane exploded as it hit a residential area in Hwasong City in Kyonggi province damaging a house and car repair shop.

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/worl...sia/4119344.stm

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Aww jeez... what are they doing with U2s?

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I wouldn't be surprised if it was connected with the search for you-know-who ...

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WOW... i cant believe there are only 35 in service... and they keep crashing?! are the pilots not trained well enough or are they being shot down? if its over the middle east, I wouldn't doubt it was shot down... but how would they shoot down a plane that was so highup without being noticed? hmmm

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WOW... i cant believe there are only 35 in service... and they keep crashing?! are the pilots not trained well enough or are they being shot down? if its over the middle east, I wouldn't doubt it was shot down... but how would they shoot down a plane that was so highup without being noticed? hmmm

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LOL,

sorry but thats just funny. There using planes that are like the Sea Kings of the US Air Force lol

~Thanato

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These things have been around forever. I thought they were using more drones in theatre these days.

user posted image

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I wonder if it was shot down.

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They are saying it was not. But who really knows blink.gif

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probably was shot down, that or just bad weather

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Hey , I just read they are refitting the B-52's for carrying modern missiles. Some of these birds have been flying since the 50's. But the new Bombers are not big enough for some of the jobs that need doing. They say the wing coverings are getting bad, (to many bullet holes?). I look to see one of these drop out of the sky, not from Ground Fire, but from Metal Falling off.

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Posted (edited)

Hey, i read they were planning on keeping the B-52s in service until the 2040s, by which time they'd be about 90 years old! The B-2 looks great, but I guess it's just too darn expensive to risk anywhere there might be shooting!

And U-2s "keep" crashing? Could've been mechanical failure, unlikely to have been shot down, not over Afganistan and not at the altitude they fly at; pilot error? Unlikely; it's still an elite job being a U-2 pilot, they don't let any old Joe have a go at it.

Edited by 747400

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