NATO request the return of the US U-2 spy plane to Europe

The Independent:
The U-2 spy plane, one of the most emblematic aircraft of the Cold War, should return to Europe to conduct surveillance on a resurgent and aggressive Russia, a top American general has warned.

General Philip Breedlove, the head of US forces in Europe and Nato’s supreme allied commander, said the iconic jet was among “additional intelligence collection platforms” needed to effectively counter an increased threat posed by Moscow after decades of downgrading of American military assets in the region. The officer, who is due to step down this spring, said Russia poses a “long-term existential threat” to the United States.

With sensors that can spot a landmine from a height of 13 miles and scoop up vast amounts of communications data, the U-2 would prove a potent tool in monitoring any build-up or sudden movement of Russian forces on the border of the Baltic states or the Ukraine.

But the suggested return to European skies of the slender espionage plane, which first flew six decades ago and has survived several attempts to force its retirement, could also risk provoking Russian ire by resurrecting memories of the U-2’s role in the most incendiary moments of the Cold War.
The Russians think the existence of NATO is a provocation so I don't think a spy plane will further destabilize relations with an aggressor state.   Apparently, the U-2 has some capabilities not available from the drone fleet.


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