Lockheed Martin Flies Mission-enabling Kubernetes Onboard U-2
Global Aviator|January 2021
The U-2 flew a Kubernetes cloud that connected in-flight to a ground node, extending the U-2’s network-of-networks connectivity.
Lockheed Martin successfully conducted a flight test mission featuring distributed processing onboard the U-2 Dragon Lady via Kubernetes containerisation technology. The demonstration is a critical stepping stone toward creating a DevSecOps environment to enable the delivery of enhanced software capability to airborne assets in real-time.

“The U-2 Kubernetes demonstration from mid-November not only advances the deployment pipeline for in-flight software upgrades, but also operationally extends the computational resources for mission execution,” said Jeff Babione, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. “This additional capability makes it possible for the warfighter to quickly adapt to changing threat environments without costly or timeconsuming system upgrades.”

To accelerate software delivery from months to hours, the Lockheed Martin team leveraged a Kubernetes cloud configuration. This configuration, which was previously demonstrated during the OpenAirKube demo in late August, was flown on the U-2 via an Enterprise Open System Architecture Mission Computer (EMC2). The EMC2 is representative of the Open Mission Systems (OMS) mission computer currently being developed for the U-2 programme of record.

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