Lockheed Martin has started flight testing the U-2 reconnaissance avionics maintainability programme (RAMP). The avionics replace the 1960s-era cockpit with modern systems including three 150mm x 200mm (6in x 8in) multifunction displays, an upfront control and display unit and an independent secondary flight display system. The fleet of 31 U-2S and four U-2STs will be retrofitted by 2007. Bryan Swords, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics project manager, says six flights have been made and another 11 are scheduled over the next four months. Six aircraft a year will be modified, a rate determined by the U-2 depot maintenance cycle. RAMP uses commercial off-the-shelf equipment, some of which needs modification for use in the high-altitude reconnaissance platform.
Source: Flight International