The U-2’s replacement would be a version of the existing RQ-4B Global Hawk fitted to take pictures and pick up enemy communications and other electronic signals.
The Global Hawk “has the potential to do all that but … it still isn’t quite up to the skill set yet because it’s a new airplane,” said Air Force Maj. Colby Kuhns, of the Air Force’s High Altitude Transition Team.
So the 32 Dragon Ladies keep on keeping on, providing both traditional strategic and, more recently, tactical surveillance.
Video of 1964 U-2 tests aboard USS Ranger (CV 61) below:
Short video of trials aboard USS America (CV 66) here.