US Air Force to advance U-2 capabilities for the future battlespace

US Air Force to advance U-2 capabilities for the future battlespace
US Air Force to advance U-2 capabilities for the future battlespace

The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Lockheed Martin a $50 million contract to evolve the U-2 Dragon Lady to support future battlespace.

Under this contract, the company will lead the design, integration and test of the new advanced aircraft components, which will enable the U-2 to be the first fully OMS-compliant fleet. 

The contract includes an updated avionics suite that modernizes the aircraft’s onboard systems to readily accept and use new pieces of technology.

Lockheed Martin will also develop a new mission computer designed to the USAF’s open mission systems (OMS) standard that will enable the U-2 to integrate with new systems across air, space, sea, land, and cyber domains at different security levels.

Also, the company will provide new, modern cockpit displays to make everyday pilot tasks easier while enhancing the presentation of the data the aircraft collects to enable faster, better-informed decisions.

Interim fielding is anticipated to begin in mid-2021, with fleet modification expected in early 2022.

“As a proven, agile and reliable aircraft, the U-2S is the most capable high-altitude ISR system in the fleet today. The Avionics Tech Refresh contract will continue our commitment of providing a premier aircraft to our warfighters, ensuring global security now and into the future,” said Irene Helley, U-2 program director.

The modularity of the U-2 allows UASF’s pilots to quickly adapt to dynamic mission needs and respond to emerging threats anytime, anywhere. 

The multi-role aircraft is equipped with long-range standoff sensors and onboard processing enables the aircraft to operate in and around contested areas with ease while rapidly enabling 4th and 5th generation systems.

Neal Path

Neal Path is a reporter covering international affairs and defense news. He leads a team of specialist technical journalists and defense forecasting analysts, working across a range of online products. Neal Path is a defense technology specialist and has written widely on most areas of defense technology, but his particular areas of interest include missile defense, precision weapons, naval warfare, sensor capabilities and military operations.
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