Star Wars: The legendary plane gets a facelift

U-2 aircraft manufactured in the United States for the purpose of spying on the Soviet Union in the 1960s and flying at unusual altitudes of 23 kilometers above the ground, will undergo an upgrade that will finally advance them to the 21st century.

Over the years, the old planes have been upgraded with various special systems to allow them to survive on the sophisticated battlefield of the future, and now an artificial intelligence system called R2-D2 has also been added, in honor of the beloved robot that helped Luke Skywalker in Star Wars movies.

According to Jeff Babiona, vice president and CEO of Lockheed Martin, the new update “not only facilitates pilots’ activities, but significantly enhances their ability to conduct the espionage mission because it examines and tests for them all possible threats directed at them.” In the battle field”.

Updates to the new U-2 aircraft // Illustration: Lockheed Martin

It is important to note that the 2Us were replaced by the black bird planes due to their slowness, as the Russians managed to shoot them down with SA-2 missiles, but they were not taken out of service and still formed one of the backbones of American espionage operations around the world. Over the years, the aircraft has been equipped with anti-missile missiles and additional means of escape and protection so that it will survive longer on the future battlefield, which is very far from the years in which the aircraft was originally designed.

But now artificial intelligence has been introduced that will allow pilots to focus on espionage, while protecting the plane and even operating some of its own armaments.

It is important to note that due to the flight altitude of the aircraft, the pilots wear pressure suits due to the sparse air at this altitude above the ground. Either way, the old glider-like spy plane continues to be a significant tool in U.S. combat management capability and cruises at exceptional altitudes.

The cruise, along with more advanced radar and viewing capabilities than in the past, in addition to the new artificial intelligence software and self-protection, ensure that the aircraft will almost continue to cruise in space for decades to come.