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Lockheed Martin tests U-2 with distributed processing capabilities

15 Dec 2020 (Last Updated December 15th, 2020 12:21)

Lockheed Martin has conducted a flight test of U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane equipped with distributed processing software on board to establish a link with the ground station.

Lockheed Martin tests U-2 with distributed processing capabilities
Recent flight testing by the USAF, Lockheed Martin and Collins Aerospace Systems completed the upgrade of the full U-2 Dragon Lady fleet with the premier electro-optical / infrared sensor capability. Credit: Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Lockheed Martin has conducted a flight test of U-2 Dragon Lady spy plane equipped with distributed processing software on board to establish a link with the ground station.

Conducted by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the test used Kubernetes containerisation technology to demonstrate the capability.

The move will help in advancing with the plan of creating a DevSecOps environment to deliver enhanced software capability to airborne assets in real-time.

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works vice-president and general manager Jeff Babione said: “The U-2 Kubernetes demonstration from mid-November not only advances the deployment pipeline for in-flight software upgrades but also operationally extends the computational resources for mission execution.

“This additional capability makes it possible for the warfighter to quickly adapt to changing threat environments without costly or time-consuming system upgrades.”

The team utilised a Kubernetes Cloud configuration in the test.

The technology was flown on the U-2 through an Enterprise Open System Architecture Mission Computer (EMC2), which represented the Open Mission Systems (OMS) mission computer currently being developed for the U-2 programme.

During the flight, Kubernetes connected in-flight to a ground node extending the reconnaissance aircraft’s network-of-networks connectivity.

A Lockheed Martin statement said: “Air Force OMS-compliant datalink gateway software services on board the U-2 and in the ground node within the Kubernetes Cloud disseminated sensor data, dynamically bridging datalinks across assets.”

The capability is expected to help in enhancing Cloud computing technology to meet mission requirements.

Notably, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works secured a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) in April to advance capabilities of the U-2 aircraft.