When navigating around bustling airport taxiways, some aircraft require assistance from a road vehicle. For example, this Lockheed Martin U-2 “spy plane” that has been in operation since 1950 is not able to perfectly visualize the tight taxi corridors in airfields. And the Air Force’s solution to this is to tandem the spy plane with a fast car as it operates in taxi mode until it takes off.
They specifically chose a Tesla Model S car to accompany and assist the spy plane with its taxi mode navigation. The spy plane took off from the British Fairford airfield, which might explain the choice of the accompanying vehicle. In the past decades, the Air Force typically picked vehicles such as Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros, and Pontiac G8s to conduct the assisting job. However, a source said that the lack of US-manufactured “muscle cars” in Britain may have led the Air Force to opt for the Tesla Model S. One other logical reasoning for this is that the Air Force may be starting to opt for a more sustainable operation and Tesla cars are apparently ideal for this.
Fun fact: the spy plane is nicknamed after its CIA development code name known as the “Dragon Lady”.