Stratospheric Cold War warriors: Alconbury TR-1As

In 1983, the first Lockheed TR-1As arrived at RAF Alconbury to fly reconnaissance missions and gather intelligence on the Warsaw Pact. Dr Kevin Wright talks with Lt Col Bruce Jinneman (ret’d) about his time flying the aircraft from the Cambridgeshire base.

The TR-1A was a U-2R by another name. From 1983 to 1995, the ‘Dragon Lady’ was a frequent sight over East Anglia. Peter R Foster

Designed to carry high-altitude standof sensors, the first production TR-1 performed its maiden flight on August 1, 1981. Lt Col Bruce Jinneman (ret’d) said: “When they reopened [U-2] production, one aircraft of the line was a U-2 and the next, destined for England, a TR-1.” There were no significant dif erences between the two types and the TR-1 name was adopted to try and dissociate the aircraft from the earlier politically sensitive CIA U-2 missions and also reflect the more tactical role of the Alconbury-based aircraft.

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