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The US Air Force Uses These Vehicles To Land The U-2 Spy Plane

Dodge Chargers Serving Under USAF

The United States Air Force has recently shipped two Dodge Chargers to an air-force base in the U.K. for a very special mission. You might be wondering why they would need to send two muscle cars across the Atlantic? You may also be wondering what purpose the USAF has for the Dodge Charger.

USAF Dodge Charger Chase Cars

According to HotCars, the USAF has been using muscle cars since the 1950s. One aircraft, which has a record that now spans over six decades, puts the vehicles to good use: the U-2. The U-2, also known as the ‘Dragon Lady,’ is a high-altitude reconnaissance plane capable of flying at super-high altitudes of up to 70,000 feet, so high that pilots have to wear spacesuits. However, due to the U-2’s unconventional design, it is notoriously difficult to land. It doesn’t just need a very skilled pilot to touchdown, but it also requires the assistance of a powerful ‘chase’ car when it comes to land, which is where the muscle car comes in. The USAF has also been seen utilizing the Chevrolet Camaro SS, Caprice PPV, and Chevrolet SS Performance Sedan.

Dodge Charger Serving Under USAF

The U-2 will typically descend at a speed of around 150 km/h (93 mph). A chase car has to be able to match this speed and ensure that it positions itself within three car lengths of the aircraft. So that chase car drivers (highly experienced flight crew members) can convey essential flight instructions to the pilot, like the angle of descent and final altitude. Drivers must have precision driving skills and expert timing. The USAF has used various cars over the years; they are driving an Audi in the video below.

The U.K. does have its own muscle car outlets available, which makes us wonder why the cars need to come from the United States. The answer falls to the chase drivers who are finicky about the types of vehicles they drive, and claim to prefer using left-hand drive cars. The cars also require specialized modifications, which are currently sourced in the U.S. For example, a car-to-aircraft communications system. Another reason these two cars were shipped may be due to the location, which may not have a fleet of chase cars available. Additionally, it may not have the resources to maintain a pool of these high-performance cars.


Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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  1. I recall the original Dodge Charger Daytona was used in the same manner for either NASA or the Air Force.

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