UK Operations

With ad hoc deployments to RAF Mildenhall of both the U-2R and SR-71 having been made during the late 1970s, Det 4 of the 9th SRW was established at the base in April 1979 with a single U-2R. Its mission was purely Siglnt, however, as the year came to an end, 68-10338 was replaced by 68-10339. This latter aircraft was equipped with both Senior Ruby and Senior Spear, there­by combining both Elinr and Siglnt on a single airframe. Det 4 continued to fly the Siglnt mission, codenamed Creak Spectre until February 1982, after which the role was taken on by TR-lAs of the newly activated 17th Reconnaissance Wing, at RAF Alconbury. In March 1985, the 17th RW received three more TR-lAs together with the ASARS-2 capability. A major milestone was achieved by Lt Col John Sander on 9 July 1985, when he flew the first operational ASARS-2 sortie, marking a new begin­ning in battlefield reconnaissance. The wing was eventually assigned twelve TR-lAs before being deactivat­ed in June 1991.