Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works subsidiary demonstrated communications between six fifth-generation fighter jet and one reconnaissance aircraft during a test with the U.S. Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency.
The flight test titled Project Hydra had five F-35s, one U-2 and and one F-22 aircraft link with each other to share data and build real time situational awareness for ground-based operators, the company said Monday.
The U-2 Dragon Lady carried an open systems gateway payload to establish a link between the F-22 and the F-35s via intra-flight and multifunction advanced data links.
Nellis Air Force Base's Shadow Operations Center and the California-based Common Mission Control Center received the gathered data during the demonstration.
“Project Hydra marks the first time that bi-directional communications were established between 5th Generation aircraft in-flight while also sharing operational and sensor data down to ground operators for real-time capability,” said Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.
Line-of-sight and beyond line-of-sight data link technologies allow the U-2 to share data directly to command and control nodes across the globe.