New (still quite secret) Hit-to-Kill missile for the F-35 unveiled

Discussion in 'Americas' started by average american, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Aviationist » New (still quite secret) Hit-to-Kill missile for the F-35 unveiled: the Lockheed Martin “Cuda”

    Until a photo with an interesting caption appeared on the November 2012 issue of Air Force Magazine, few people had noticed that an F-35 display model at the Air Force Association Technology Expo 2012, had its weapon bays loaded with a brand new type of air-to-air missile: the Lockheed Martin “Cuda”.



    Image credit: Air Force Magazine

    “A Lockheed Martin model shows how its “’Cuda” concept for a small AMRAAM-class radar guided dogfight missile could triple the air-to-air internal loadout on an F-35. The missile is about the size of a Small Diameter Bomb and fits on an SDB-style rack.”

    Photo caption aside, almost nothing is known about the “Cuda” missile.

    “We are having some challenges getting information on Cuda cleared for public release,” Cheryl Amerine, Cuda POC at the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, told The Aviationist.

    “Cuda is a Lockheed Martin multi-role Hit-to-Kill (HTK) missile concept. Lockheed Martin has discussed the missile concept with the United States Air Force. The Cuda concept significantly increases the internal carriage capacity for 5th generation fighters (provides 2X to 3X capacity). Combat proven HTK technology has been in the US Army for over a decade. Bringing this proven HTK technology to the USAF will provide potentially transformational new capabilities and options for new CONOPS.”

    The Hit-to-Kill missile technology Lockheed is designing for the USAF is still classified and some of the capabilities of the Cuda missile are being reviewed for public release. Still, something can be said based on the few details available.

    First of all, the F-35 will carry kinetic energy interceptors: “hit-to-kill” weapons rely on the kinetic energy of the impact to destroy their target. That’s why some HTK missiles don’t carry any warhead (others use a lethality enhancer warhead).



    Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin

    HTK technologies can be used for missile defense (Scuds, rockets or even ballistic missiles). Is someone at the Pentagon studying the possibilty to use F-35s carrying clusters of Cudas as aerial anti-missile systems to intercept small rockets, SAMs (surface-to-air missiles)?

    Second, that unlike Sidewinders, Cuda missiles, rather than being equipped with an IIR (Imaging Infra Red) seeker, will be radar-guided. This means they will be ejected from the internal bays in such a way the exposure of the stealth plane is reduced.

    Third, the possible integration of the Cuda with the F-22: since a Raptor can carry eight SDB, it can theoretically carry up to eight Cuda, even if the perfect air-to-air loadout could be mix of AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9X and Cuda missiles.
     
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  3. average american

    average american Senior Member Senior Member

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    Some one correct me if I am wrong but it looks like in additon to what ever air to air missiles a plane can carry including the F22, F35 and teen fighers can carry, the can also carry as many missile as they can GBU29 250 lb bombs.....that would be at least 16 for F22s, even more for F35 and if I remember right an F18 can carry up to 40 GBU 39s on its new bomb racks. in addition the F35 and F22 have hard points where they can carry bombs or missiles and while this reduces stealth some but they have been engineered so it has minium effect on stealth.
     
  4. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    That is some stealthy missile... i can't even see the photo! :pound:
     
  5. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    I talked with some aviation enthusiasts about Cuda missile and they said it might work well as a replacement for currently used missiles.
     

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