U-2 Spy Plane Got New Target Recognition Capabilities In First Ever In Flight Software Updates

Will Roper, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, has offered new details about how the Air Force successfully made changes to the software onboard a U-2S Dragon Lady spy plane in flight for the first time ever. The first update the plane’s systems received was to add code to help track future changes, which produced a log that also includes a depiction of the iconic Star Wars droid R2-D2 saying “Hello Dr. Roper! What’s next?” 

Sci-fi references notwithstanding, this achievement, a first-of-its-kind milestone for the U.S. military on any type of aircraft, at least publicly, is a big deal and could have game-changing impacts on aerial operations in the future, including with regards to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities and electronic warfare. The system apparently quickly got an answer to the “what’s next?” question as well, when a second update brought “improved automatic target

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