Surprise for the Pentagon: Lockheed Martin has quietly developed a new spy plane for the United States. Here you read, why it would be the most modern spy plane in the world.
Pentagon (US): Lockheed Martin has quietly developed a new spy plane
Lockheed Martin talked out something from the defence secrets at a Congress of the U.S. air force in Washington on 14 September: called the secret advanced development projects unit of the arms manufacturer – even Skunk Works – has designed a successor to the legendary spy plane U-2 Dragon Lady. It goes by the name of TR-X and 2025 could be ready for use.
First illustrations show a futuristic flat stealth aircraft in black. Lockheed Martin hardly reveals details about the technology. Only so much: TR-X features the proven F-118 engines that are used in the U-2. The new spy plane can fly up to 20 hours at 21 km altitude with them – Dragon Lady makes Tuckered after approximately ten hours.
Altitude cameras, noise and laser cannons
TR-X is designed just like the U-2 as an open platform and therefore flexible. “It is a cheap tactical base”, the online magazine flight cited global project manager Scott Winstead. “You can do because no expensive equipment, it is because it is necessary.”
Depending on whether the plane on behalf on the road is the army, the air force or the CIA, the equipment can be so quickly change — including high-resolution heights cameras, technology for monitoring by satellite communications, jamming, and maybe even laser cannons to protect itself.
Lockheed Martin: U-2 is still the measure of all things
Lockheed Martin does not understand the idea of the TR-X as a devaluation of the U-2: “There is no other platform with similar altitude, performance and capacity,” says Winstead. Thanks to F-118 engines and slender long wings with 31 m span, the U-2 over 760 km/h at altitudes of over 21 km could deny reconnaissance flights.
“Flights at this altitude mean a close look at borders and allow large data collections, which provide our troops with information.” The United States used the U-2 times of the cold war: then she explored from military bases in the former Soviet Union and Cuba.
Pentagon doubts efficiency of the U-2 fleet
And when should the Dragon Lady have served? That is not quite clear: there is a dispute between the military and intelligence agencies and the Pentagon to the economic viability of the U-2 fleet, which currently consists of 17 engines namely for years. It could be that satellite or the spy drone RQ-4 Global much cheaper supply data in the Hawk from Northrop Grummann and the U.S. air force therefore their U-2 fleet already 2019 shutdowns.
New American SPY Plane Against this background, the attempt by Lockheed Martin not to convince the Pentagon with the TR-X concept of the future viability of the spy plane surprised. The Pentagon had given the design by the way not in order. But exactly with such an initiative, Lockheed Martin won the contract for the U-2 just over 60 years ago.