im_johnnyp asked “Whats the “hump” above in the middle for and why do some U-2s have it and others don’t?”

I’ve had a lot of people ask this before.  I assume you’re talking about the hump in the picture.  This is part of a data link relay system.  Part of the reason the U-2 has remained relevant in this modern world is it’s ability to adapt.  New technologies are incorporated and suddenly an old design is doing things no one originally would have thought possible.  This data link allows real time information to be gathered, analyzed, and disseminated.  

As for why some have it and others don’t, the basic design of the U-2 is to act like a Lego set.  Don’t like a sensor for this mission, take it off, plop another on, and away you go.  These sensors are valuable and only get used when they are needed.

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