Miltech Simulations announces the U-2 Spyplane for Microsoft Flight Simulator

It’s one of the most specialized airplanes ever made. The U-2, designed and built by the masterminds at Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works division, is being developed for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Miltech Simulations announced this new project this week, just on the heels of the release of their CH-47D Chinook, marking another ambitious step for the developer, who is keen on bringing us some of the most interesting flying tools in the United States military arsenal.

The U-2 Spyplane, a single-engine, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, needs little introduction, despite the secretive nature of its missions. It has been a significant part of aerial intelligence operations since the 1950s. Operated by the United States Air Force and the CIA, the U-2 has played pivotal roles in major Cold War incidents, flying over territories such as the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, and Cuba. Its service has extended into post-Cold War conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, alongside contributions to various NATO operations, and continues to this day.

Miltech Simulations’ rendition of the U-2 Spyplane aims to bring this icon of high-altitude flight to Microsoft Flight Simulator. The developer says that the project has been in the works for several months, developed in secret in parallel with the Chinook.

Miltech Simulations U 2 Spyplane MSFS 4

Miltech Simulations U 2 Spyplane MSFS 3

For now, Miltech Simulations has shared a few details about the product alongside a few preview images of the cockpit. Here’s a quick summary of what the developer is looking to offer with this package:

  • Two Variants: The package will include the U-2R, featuring an analog cockpit, and the more modern U-2S, equipped with a glass cockpit. This choice allows sim pilots to experience the evolution of the U-2’s operational capabilities over the years.
  • Mission System: Inspired by real-life Cold War events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Space Race, along with modern incidents like the Chinese Balloon episode, the mission system promises to deliver engaging and historically grounded scenarios for virtual pilots to undertake.
  • Authentic Flight Dynamics: The U-2 is a notoriously difficult aircraft to fly, particularly its challenging landing process and operation near the “coffin corner,” which will be accurately modeled.
  • Chase Car Assistance: In line with the real-world operations of the U-2, a chase car will guide simmers during the landing phase, replicating one of the most distinctive and challenging aspects of flying the U-2.

Miltech Simulations has not provided a specific release date for the U-2 Spyplane, stating only that it is expected to launch sometime this year. The product will be available for both PC and Xbox platforms.

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The U-2 Spyplane, often referred to as the “Dragon Lady,” is a true marvel of aviation engineering. It was designed to fly higher than any other aircraft of its time, capturing high-resolution imagery from an altitude that was thought to be beyond the reach of Soviet fighters and missiles.

The U-2 operates at altitudes above 70,000 feet (21,336 meters). At this altitude, pilots wear pressurized suits similar to those worn by astronauts to survive the near-space conditions. At these altitudes, aircraft performance is nowhere near what it’s capable of at lower altitudes, and because of this, flying the U-2 is an exercise in precision. At the operational altitudes of the U-2, the margin between the aircraft’s stall speed and its maximum speed (before structural damage occurs) is incredibly narrow. This precarious flight envelope is known as the “coffin corner,” requiring pilots to maintain a very precise airspeed to avoid either stalling or exceeding the aircraft’s structural limits.

Miltech Simulations U 2 Spyplane MSFS 1

Another unique aspect of U-2 operations is the use of a chase car during landing. Due to the aircraft’s limited forward visibility and the difficulty in judging the height above the runway because of its long wings and high-altitude flight characteristics, a chase car driven by another U-2 pilot races down the runway, assisting the landing pilot by providing altitude calls over the radio.

As we learned with this announcement, Miltech is keen to enable MSFS simmers to enjoy these and potentially other unique features of the U-2. This is sure to excite the military flight simulation community, offering a unique opportunity to explore the skies in an aircraft renowned for its role in some of the most critical moments of recent history. As always, we’ll keep you updated on any new developments regarding this exciting new project!