U-2

DRAGON LADY

RAF AKROTIRI

  1St ERS COMMANDERS OFFICE

DRAGON SLAYER SWORD

 

  CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
1970 saw the Egyptians and the Israelis at war again with both sides slugging it out in a war of attrition across the Suez canal. 

After a ceasefire had been agreed both sides pulled their troops back to 32 miles either side of the canal. and both the CIA (Det G) and the USAF set about planning a "Fast Move" of a U-2 to monitor the situation.  The CIA were quicker of the mark and two U-2R's were dispatched to RAF Akortiri by way of RAF Upper Heyford under the code name Even Steven.

August the 11th saw the first monitoring flight and these went on for three months.  These flights were risky due the fact the Egyptians had not agreed to them and there was the ever present SAM threat.  Although the CIA did collect some valuable data on both sides air-defence systems. .

In early October 1973 the Syrians and Egyptians attacked Israel during the period of Yom Kippur. This attack came as a surprise to Israel and the Egyptians  made ground in the Sinai , recapturing land that had been lost in previous wars.

Det G deployed to RAF Upper Heyford under Operation Forward Pass but as both the French and British governments stalled over the overflights and basing the SR-71 in Britain, the missions were re-tasked and flown by the SR-71 from Griffiss AFB on some of the longest missions flown by the Blackbird.  By October 22nd a ceasefire had been signed by all but the Syrians and the U-2's of DET G  departed Upper Heyford for Edwards AFB in December.

By April 1974 arrangements for a permanent monitoring of the ceasefire had been brokered and DET G deployed again this time to RAF Akrotiri. Missions parameters were agreed for the flights over the Suez/.Sinai with all parties having to agree that each flight could take place up to 48hours in advance of it actually taking place. Flight parameters were very tight. and the B-Camera and 12 H Camera missions each covered a 64 mile wide strip checking that either side had not moved fresh military hardware into the canal zone.

  Unfortunately the Syrians would not fully cooperate, and these mission were planned with the U-2 keeping away from the Syrian SAM site's and keeping over Israeli held territories.  Further missions were flown but DET G's time at Akrotiri was running out. and as members of the 100th SRW arrived to take over the operation, thing got a bit hotter on the island as the civil war between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots started.

 

mar03100srwolch.jpg (43267 bytes) 100th S.R.W.

"OPERATING LOCATION-

OLIVE HARVEST"

March 1976  saw the consolidation of U-2's and SR-71's under the 9th SRW at Beale AFB and the 100th SRW was deactivated.  The U-2 squadron at Beale AFB was now the 99th SRS.

The  U-2 operation at RAF Akrotiri continued to be called  Operating Location -OH  until September 1980, then it became  DET 3 of the 9th SRW, although the name OLIVE HARVEST continued.

 

 
9th S.R.W./ R.W.

DET 3 / DET 1

99th / 1st ERS

PROJECT OLIVE HARVEST

jun0499thrs.jpg (207223 bytes)
The 1st SRTS is based at Beale AFB , CA while the 99th RS operates the actual flying missions world wide with the exception of the 5th RS which covers North Korean operations.

 The detachment that was based at Istres in France ( OL-FR)  later moved to Sigonella (OL-IT) Italy and was performing the mission requirement over the Balkan area of operation. 

There was also the detachment of the 99th RS at RAF Akortiri covering the middle eastern area of operation.  This detachment has been called  Det 3 and Det 1 of the 9th SRW/RW during it time at RAF Akrotiri.  A further Detachment (4) of the 99th RS is in the United Arab Emirates.  

The Sigonella / Akortiri  detachments were combined at Akrotiri as the 99th ERS.   This was later changed in 2006 to the 1st ERS.

What was originally a 60 day deployment in 1974, has now lasted 37years!

Two U-2's are stationed at RAF Akrotiri and they are still monitoring the ceasefire agreement between the Egypt and Israel  although the present crisis in the Middle east requires further missions .  U-2's also transit through RAF Akrotiri either on going into theater or returning to Beale AFB .

The aircraft stationed can be configured with  ASARS II, SYERS , ELINT or CAMERA Systems and can be mission ready in 2 hours.

ADVANCED SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR SYSTEM II --- ( ASARS II )

The ASARS II can relay imagery in near-real time to a ground station while on-tether. The ASARS II is particular effective in seeing through smoke , clouds or darkness, Therefore it is a good night time or inclement weather.

 

SENIOR YEAR ELECTRO-OPTICAL RECONNAISSANCE SYSTEM  ----  ( SYERS )

The SYERS is a dual band system that includes a near time electro-optical image sensor and an Infrared sensor. The SYERS Projects a digital "picture" on to a screen in the SENIOR BLADE van on the ground . This van controls the sensor, receives, processes  the pictures and passes on to relevant Commanders both in theatre and to a National level.   If the aircraft is out of range of the van the data is stored and transmitted when in range.

 

ELINT:

High performance  ELINT / SIGINT multi-band systems for detection, capture and identification of modern radar signals

 

 CAMERAS:---- ( H-cam   & IRIS- III - OPTICAL BAR CAMERA )

U-2 camera systems can include a HR-329 (H-cam) and the Intelligence Reconnaissance Imagery System III ( IRIS-III) and the Goodrich  OBC .The H-Cam uses a high resolution, gyro- optical stabilized framing system with a 66 inch focal length and folded optical path. Normal operation of this camera is at an angle ( maximum oblique angel is 70 degrees) to the aircrafts centre line.

The IRIS-III is an optical imagery system that uses a high resolution, panoramic camera with a 24 inch focal length. Employing a folded optical path system mounted on a rotating optical bar assembly, the IRIS-III laterally scans through 140 degrees of the total viewing area. A 32 nautical mile swath is covered on both sides of the aircraft.  The IRIS-III provide a wider "synoptic" coverage than the H-cam but it does not have the resolution or National Imagery Interpretation Rating Scale ( NIIRS) quality.

The Optical Bar Camera ( OBC ) is a Goodrich 30 inch focal length monochromatic panoramic format camera.  It is the successor to the IRIS-III.  Each photograph covers two miles along the ground track by thirty-two miles to each side, providing 140 degrees of horizon-to-horizon coverage.  It is capable of producing photos with a 20% or 55% overlap for mapping purposes as well as rudimentary simulated three-dimensional images in "stereo" mode.  An adaptive aperature system provides the camera with an ability to adjust to changing lighting conditions.  This allows it to persist in-theatre as long as there is light.  The OBC is the only wet-film system still in operation in the United States Air Force.  A full 10,500 ft roll of its film will provide over 1600 photographs, covering more than 107,000 square nautical miles in stunning detail.  Able to pick out details as fine as the lines in parking lots, the high resolution of its photos is unmatched by modern digital systems.

 

The 1st ERS missions are tasked by the 401st EGS which is part of 16th Air Force. USAFE.

Man power, aircraft and support are from the parent 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB

While 16th AF inactivated today 01/12/00206, it will continue to exist through the 16th Air Expeditionary Task Force at Izmir Air Base, Turkey. The 3rd Air Force was reactivated in Europe at the same time 

 

jun0499thrs.jpg (207223 bytes)   mar03100srwolch.jpg (43267 bytes)
1st ERS

 

  100th SRW  OL-OH OL-OH

I HAVE IT

  WANTED

 

I HAVE IT

THANKS ROBERT

 
OLIVE HARVEST OLIVE HARVEST

 

OLIVE HARVEST  
I HAVE IT I HAVE IT

 

I HAVE IT  
 
16th AIR FORCE

401st AEG

 

401st EOG

RAF AKROTIRI

 
I HAVE IT I HAVE IT I HAVE IT  
 
   
  U-2 Pilots Name Tag( on leather)

Name removed.   Thanks "GUCCI"

 
  I HAVE IT  
     
Of course it's not all work.

 "MOM's Place"

is the local watering hole on base.

Left is the entrance- Right is the sign celebrating 50 Years of the U-2 to the left of the door.

 

           
CIA DET G EVEN STEVEN Detachment G 1970  
CIA DET G   Detachment G 1973- 1974
100th SRW 99th SRS Operating Location - Olive Harvest   1974- 1976
9th SRW 99th SRS Operating Location - Olive Harvest   1976- 1980
9th SRW 99th SRS Project Olive Harvest Detachment 3 1980-  
  99th RS Project Olive Harvest      
  99th RS Project Olive Harvest      
9th RW 99th ERS Project Olive Harvest Detachment 1   2006
9th RW 1st ERS Project Olive Harvest   2006- Present

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