Lockheed U-2 is an American reconnaissance aircraft developed on the basis of the F-104 Starfighter fighter jet and manufactured by Lockheed Corporation. The reconnaissance aircraft flew very high, and at the time it was put into operation, it was believed that there were no air defense systems that could reach it. The plane became involved in an international episode over Soviet airspace in 1960 when it was shot down on its way from Pakistan to Norway (Bodø)
U-2 first flew over Soviet airspace on July 4, 1956. It was assumed that if you flew higher than 50,000 feet, Soviet fighter jets could not reach the plane and shoot it down, and in the beginning this was a correct assumption.
The U2 affair
On May 1, 1960, pilot Francis Gary Powers took off from the US airport in Peshawar, Pakistan, to fly over Soviet airspace to Bodø main airport, and this time the plane was attacked for the first time by Soviet air defense missiles, which managed to bring the plane down near the city of Sverdlovsk. A barrage of 14 missiles was fired, one of them hit and shot down a Soviet fighter jet, but none of them hit the U-2 aircraft itself. However, the pressure wave from the explosions when the missiles exploded succeeded in giving the aircraft very serious damage, and the aircraft immediately began to disintegrate. The US government initially tried to explain this away by saying that it was a weather observation plane that had flown wrong. However, pilot Gary Powers chose to tell the truth about the mission, which led to a significant deterioration in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.
(en) Lockheed U-2 - category of images, video or audio on Commons
(en) Lockheed U-2 - gallery of images, video or audio on Commons
Unlimited horizons: design and development of the U-2
U-2 at the Norwegian Aviation Museum, Bodø