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After working with the Nationwide Aeronautics and Area Administration (NASA) to convey again America’s first asteroid pattern to Earth this weekend, Lockheed Martin is having a busy September because the agency has efficiently flown a U-2 plane with upgraded avionics techniques. The U-2 is among the oldest plane on the planet, and it first took to the skies in 1955 as a part of a check program and thru its historical past, the plane has been operated by the Navy, the Air Drive and the Central Intelligence Company (CIA).
Lockheed Martin’s newest upgrades for the U-2 are a part of the Air Drive’s U-2 Dragon Girl Avionics Tech Refresh Program (ATR), a $50 million contract that the Air Drive awarded to the agency in 2020.
Lockheed Martin’s Newest U-2 Improve Provides New Shows And Computer systems To The Plane
The U-2 has one of many highest service ceilings on the planet for a crewed plane, which permits it to climb to an altitude of a minimum of 80,000 ft for surveillance and reconnaissance functions. The plane can be able to sustaining a communications hyperlink throughout flight, which is a should have characteristic for mission important purposes because it permits groups on the bottom to obtain knowledge in actual time whereas the airplane is flying.
Nevertheless, the truth that the airplane has been in service for many years additionally necessitates common upgrades to make sure that the U-2 is able to supporting modern-day platforms. The ATR program seeks to convey these capabilities to the airplane. In accordance with Lockheed, the primary check flight of the upgraded U-2 noticed the plane check new onboard techniques for communications and navigation, a brand new laptop that enables it to crew up with air, area, land and cyber warfighting techniques and new cockpit shows which might be in step with trendy know-how and necessities.
The upgraded U-2 performed a low altitude check flight in Palmdale, California. Throughout this check, the U-2’s pilot checked all these techniques. As a part of the ATR program, the plane options essential upgrades to its avionics and flight management techniques to make sure that they will work with newer applied sciences. The plane’s mission laptop can be designed to fulfill the Air Drive’s open mission techniques (OMS), which search to mix data from totally different domains for improved resolution making.
Lockheed’s ATR program seeks to make the U-2 absolutely compliant with the OMS. In accordance with the Air Drive, the OMS permits totally different techniques on totally different plane to speak with one another by utilizing frequent knowledge codecs. Lockheed Martin is just not the one protection contractor that’s bringing the format to its merchandise. Northrop Grumman and Boeing are each engaged on merchandise as nicely, with Northrop demonstrating a radar system compliant with the OMS in 2020.
The newest variant of the U-2 that’s operational is known as the U-2S. Regardless of being in service for many years, plane just like the U-2 have most of their airframes obtainable for future missions because of low flight hours. The newest upgrades are among the many first of their variety launched to the U-2 because the early 2000s, and whereas another elements are upgrades, the mission laptop is a brand new addition that’s designed particularly to fulfill the OMS necessities. Moreover, the show upgrades can even characteristic some touchscreen capabilities, in line with a Lockheed official who spoke to Aviation Week in 2020.