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U-2 Aircraft "AQUATONE" (1/48 Scale Model)

Artifact Details

A model of the U-2 plane with ONR and a serial number written on the tail

The aircraft’s unique design allowed it to be lightweight enough to reach ultra-high altitudes, and supply enough fuel to achieve intercontinental range.

The development of the U-2 in 1954 signaled the Central Intelligence Agency’s entry into the world of overhead reconnaissance. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized construction of a new aircraft designed specifically to fly over the Soviet Union and collect strategic intelligence. Peacetime reconnaissance flights over the territory of a potential enemy power thus became national policy. To reduce the danger of conflict, the President entrusted this mission not to the armed forces but to a civilian agency – the CIA. Since that time, overhead reconnaissance has been one of CIA’s most important missions.

Artifact Specs

32 cm x 51 cm x 9 cm

(L x W x H))


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Learn More

The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974

The U-2 Program: The DCI’s Perspective

The U-2 Program: A Russian Officer Remembers

The “Photo Gap” that Delayed Discovery of Missiles in Cuba

Soviet Deception in the Cuban Missile Crisis