Russian, Chinese Satellites Help US U-2 Pilots Spy on Them


American spy plane pilots are wearing watches that connect to Russian and  Chinese satellites — and offer an intriguing array of information, Defense One reported.

The U-2 pilots have the new high-tech gadget that gets coordinates from U.S. adversaries and allies alike to serve as a backup to U.S. Global Positioning System satellites if there is ever a jam, the news outlet reported.

“My U-2 guys fly with a watch now that ties into GPS, but also BeiDou and the Russian [GLONASS] system and the European [Galileo] system so that if somebody jams GPS, they still get the others,” Gen. James Holmes, head of Air Combat Command, said at a conference in Washington on Wednesday, Defense One reported.

The general said the gadget is an example of building redundancies into military equipment.

Though he he did not name the watch manufacturer, the Air Force bought 100 Garmin D2 Charlie navigation watches in February 2018, when the company described the capabilities of the “D2 Charlie” for U-2 pilots flying 70,000 feet about the Earth, Defense News reported.

“Designed with pilots of varying backgrounds and missions, the D2 Charlie aviator watch features a colorful, dynamic moving map which depicts airports, [navigational aids], roads, bodies of water, cities and more, offering greater situational awareness,” the watchmaker boasted in a statement at the time, Defense News reported.