>>2978599>relevant for research and peactime operations
Peer nations don't blow your precious U-2s out of the sky solely for the reason the political and military fallout outside of war conditions is more of a hassle than hiding actually important things when that glorified glider is flying over. In cases where your things do fly above enemy territory, they don't get shot down simply for the reason the militaries doesn't want get cheaply baited into exposing its SAM sites and the ministries of foreign affairs of other nations have better things to do.
When humiliating the USAF becomes actually useful, things like ((drone in Iran)) happen. The USAF is probably the one useless branch in the US military.