Today, the U-2 Dragon Lady is not only ensuring global security 24/7/365 as the most capable, high-altitude intelligence surveillance reconnaissance (ISR) system in the fleet, but it’s also helping to bridge to the Air Force’s vision for the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), a program that will bring to life the ‘internet of things’ for the military.
In the future, no battle will be fought on a single battlefield. Connectivity will be crucial. ABMS means total battlespace awareness and dominance, with every warfighter and system operating across the sea, ground, air, space and cyber domains sharing critical information instantaneously.
The result? Greater connectivity and greater battlespace awareness for the warfighter to complete their mission at the speed required in today’s evolving threat environment.
The U-2 will also be the first fully OMS compliant fleet, providing the ability to plug-and-play new capabilities quickly and affordably to support ABMS.
“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.
Under this contract, Lockheed Martin 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. Interim fielding is anticipated to begin in mid-2021, with fleet modification expected in early 2022.
Built in complete secrecy by Kelly Johnson and the Lockheed Skunk Works, the original U-2A first flew in August 1955. Early flights over the Soviet Union in the late 1950s provided the president and other U.S. decision makers with key intelligence on Soviet military capability. In October 1962, the U-2 photographed the buildup of Soviet offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba, touching off the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Initially projected to have an operational life of just two years, the U-2 would go on to see service in every subsequent American war, while showing remarkable versatility as a non-military aircraft.
When equipped with a wide variety of sensors, the U-2 has morphed into everything from a high-tech NASA platform for conducting physics experiments to a high-altitude tool for tracking the migration of destructive spruce bark beetles through the forests of Alaska.
Today, U-2s are used as aerial eavesdropping devices; U-2s survey dirt patterns for signs of makeshift mines and IEDs over Iraq and Afghanistan, making these dynamic high-flyers as effective today as they were nearly 60 years ago.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
Richard Bissell Richard Bissell, the senior Government official who took responsibility for the Central Intelligence… Read More
Wright-Patterson AFB and US Air Force Museum damaged by tornado On Feb. 28, 2024 Wright-Patterson… Read More
The B-47 Stratojet Designed to meet a 1944 requirement, the first XB-47 prototype flew in… Read More
B-52 Emergency Landing Early on Feb. 23, 2024 a B-52H bomber at Minot Air Force… Read More
The Mil Mi-24 The Mil Mi-24 Hind is a large helicopter that once formed the… Read More
USS America USS America (CVA/CV-66) was one of three Kitty Hawk-class supercarriers built for the US Navy in… Read More