Lockheed Martin‘s Skunk Works unit is developing a high-altitude, long-endurance aircraft that would look as an upgraded version of the company’s U-2 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance platform, Flightglobal reported Monday.
James Drew writes Skunk Works envisions the future RQ-X/UQ-2 having an unmanned and a manned operational mode, an F118 engine and multiple sensors.
â€œThink of a low-observable U-2,â€ Scott Winstead, Lockheed’s U-2 strategic development manager, was quoted as saying.
â€œItâ€™s pretty much where the U-2 is today, but add a low-observable body and more endurance.â€
The U.S. Air Force, which owns a fleet of U-2 planes, has not formalized any plans for a HALE system research and development program, the report said.
Lockheed had proposed making the ISR aircraft unmanned but the proposal did not gain traction at the military service.