Dafydd Phillips Captures Breathtaking Video of Both U-2 and B-2 Arrival and Departures.
Ace aviation photographer Mr. Dafydd Phillips shot some breathtaking video of a Lockheed U-2 “Dragon Lady” and several B-2 Spirits flying out of and back into RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom this week. Phillips posted the video to his excellent YouTube channel, “Dafydd Phillips”, on Thursday, Mar. 19, 2020.
The video shows a Lockheed U-2 fitted with the ASARS-2 (Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System) under the extended radome on the nose. The ASARS-2 system uses two advanced, electronically scanned array side-looking radars. There are one antennae on either side of nose. According to an article published on Jalopnik in March, 2014 by aviation journalist Tyler Rogoway, “This system takes high-fidelity radar imagery of the battleground out to about 100 miles on either side of the aircraft’s position. Seeing as the U-2 often operates just outside of an enemy’s borders, being able to fly an orbit in either direction while collecting radar data is key.”
On top of this U-2 is the prominent “Senior Span” or “Senior Spur” data uplink dome. This dome is an antenna used to communicate with satellites and other over-the-horizon assets. In simple language, this large dome transmits intelligence data captured by the U-2 sensors to users on the ground.
The wing pods are called “superpods” and house additional intelligence gathering equipment that monitor signals intelligence such as a wide spectrum of data and communications signals, essentially able to eavesdrop on transmissions.
The B-2s captured by Dafydd Phillips in his excellent video include at least one of three aircraft, the Spirit of New York, Spirit of Washington and Spirit of Ohio currently deployed to RAF Fairford for Bomber Task Force Europe 20-2. Phillips told TheAviationist.com that the B-2 Spirits were, “Over in Fairford on what’s becoming a regular exercise. Been flying out on daily sorties.”
Phillips told TheAviationist that, “The U-2 is one of two based over here on a longer deployment, again, going out on daily flights.”
Phillips used a combination of equipment to make the video, including Panasonic VX-990 and VX-870 video cameras along with a GoPro Hero 8 with, “One camera mounted on the lens with other cameras fixed pointing various directions hoping to catch whatever passes.” He also shoots still photos using a Canon 1DX2.
Be sure to follow Dafydd Phillips on YouTube and on his Facebook page.