The SENIOR GLASS system is a signals intelligence [SIGINT] sensor package carried by the U-2R capable of performing both COMINT and ELINT functions. As of 1996 the "special" [aka SIGINT] sensors had not been upgraded since 1991 and were in several different configurations. Thus in 1996 the House Intelligence Committee directed a budget increase of $40 million for SENIOR RUBY, SENIOR SPEAR, and SENIOR GLASS commonality upgrades. The Committee directed the Air Force to upgrade the SPEAR/RUBY sensors to the SENIOR GLASS configuration, and upgrade the SENIOR GLASS systems to an open architecture configuration consistent with an architectural approach approved by the Defense Cryptologic Program manager.
U-2 SENIOR GLASS Vanishing Vendor Mitigation purchases Reliability and Maintainability upgrades to the SENIOR GLASS RF sensor to offset
vanishing vendor issues that will soon impact the viability of the U-2's RF capability. Extensive efforts are required to locate and acquire replacement components which are no longer produced. The effort is significant enough to impact almost every LRU in the system. Although a replacement system is currently in the design phase, the Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Steering Committee
has directed that sufficient GLASS sensors be maintained until supplanted by the new sensor. The upgrade reduces the number of unique LRUs from several hundred to less than 50. It is estimated that the cost of mitigating vanishing vendor issues would exceed the cost of the upgrade by approximately 300%.
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