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Lockheed Martin conducts first flight of U-2 Avionics Tech Refresh programme

28th September 2023 - 11:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The first flight of the U-2 ATR has taken place, (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works has successfully completed the first flight of the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft Avionics Tech Refresh (ATR) programme, an effort to upgrade the type's capabilities for the future battlespace.

A key feature of ATR is an updated avionics suite – including communications, navigation and displays – that modernises the U-2's onboard systems to readily accept and use new technology.

Additionally, it includes new modern cockpit displays to make pilot tasks easier, while enhancing presentation of the data the aircraft collects to enable faster, better-informed decisions.

During the test the aircraft successfully performed a low-altitude functional check flight to integrate new avionics, cabling and software.

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The ATR first flight marks a milestone in the U-2's modernisation efforts and further testing will solidify a mature software baseline before mission systems are introduced to ensure both functionality and interoperability to meet operational needs.

Lockheed Martin U-2 ATR programme manager Sean Thatcher said: ‘The successful first flight of the U-2 ATR is a significant moment in our journey to rapidly and affordably field new capabilities.’

‘Leveraging the platform's open architecture, we're expediting these capabilities needed for the future Joint All-Domain Operations battlespace.’

The U-2 ATR contract was awarded by the USAF in 2020 and is valued at $50 million.

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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