US General Philip Breedlove, the outgoing Supreme Allied Commander for NATO, is calling for the US to bring back U-2 spy planes to Europe to conduct increased surveillance of the Russian military, insisting NATO needs more intelligence collection against them.
High-flying U-2 planes were a major component of US surveillance of Soviet territory through much of the Cold War. However, in recent years the U-2 has largely been supplanted by the use of satellites for reconnaissance, and the planes have been scheduled for retirement for a decade now.
Gen. Breedlove, who has been pushing for an ever-increasing US military presence in Europe to target Russia, argued that Russia poses a “long-term existential threat” to the United States, and that more surveillance of the nation is needed.
Experts indicate that even if the U-2s are sent to Europe, they almost certainly will not overfly Russian territory, but will instead climb to a high operating altitude within NATO airspace and surveil Russian border areas.