A new US Air Force feasibility study has revealed that the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk can accommodate the advanced sensor of the long-serving Lockheed Martin U-2 spy plane. It's unclear how much the project would cost, though.

According to IHS Jane's, Congress ordered the study last year after it was uncovered that the enormous RQ-4 – it's 131-foot wingspan dwarfs even the U-2 – would still require nearly $2 billion in upgrades to be as effective as the Cold War-era spy plane.

According to Jane's, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said "it is feasible to adapt the U-2's Senior Year Electro-Optical Reconnaissance System-2B/C and the Optical Bar Camera onto the RQ-4B," in a letter describing the study. The next stage, James' letter said, is figuring out just how much this is going to cost the US taxpayer.

Guess the move would put the idea of an unmanned U-2 to rest.


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