WASHINGTON — Lockheed Martin this week revealed its Skunk Works proposal for a next-generation U-2 spy plane, a tactical reconnaissance aircraft called “TR-X.”
As the Air Force looks to retire Lockheed’s U-2 Dragon Lady in 2019, the company has come up with a next-generation replacement, Scott Winstead, strategic business manager for the U-2 program, told reporters on Monday at the Air Force Association’s annual conference. Lockheed is still shaping the capabilities of TR-X, a high-altitude aircraft that is designed to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions for decades to come.
TR-X will look very much like the U-2, taking advantage of the spy plane’s General Electric F118 engine and carrying a similar ordnance payload. The concept is for a low-observable aircraft designed to fly at 70,000 feet, Winstead said.
Lockheed is looking into increased power and cooling to accommodate new sensors, electronic warfare suites, and a more advanced communications system with the ability to communicate with both fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets, Winstead said. The plane will comply with the Air Force’s Open Mission Systems standards to keep up with technology advances, and may even employ offensive and defensive laser weapons in future.
Full article: Lockheed Unveils ‘TR-X’ As Next-Generation U-2 (DefenseNews)