More details are emerging about Lockheed Martin's prospective Cuda hit-to-kill missile system.
According to a company product card being distributed at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, the weapon is a medium range air-to-air missile with a multi-mode seeker.
"Cuda is a highly lethal interceptor that defeats targets by direct body-to-body impact," Lockheed says. "At impact, Cuda sweeps its mass directly through the target at a selected point of vulnerability."
The company claims the Cuda will be a low cost weapon that will support "360° coverage", expand beyond visual range engagement zones and improve within visual range no-escape zones. It will also have extremely high-g maneuverability, Lockheed claims.
The company says the weapon will be effective against enemy warplanes, unmanned aircraft and other air threats. The Lockheed product card seems to indicate that the weapon might have some air-to-surface and anti-ship applications in addition to its air combat role.
With a length of 70 inches (1.78m), fifth-generation fighters like the Lockheed F-22 Raptor or F-35 Joint Strike Fighter would be able to potentially double or triple their air-to-air missile load-outs. That means, Lockheed claims, US and allied forces would be able to achieve air superiority "at a substantially lower cost per sortie."
F-22 pilots in particular have been asking for greater beyond visual range weapons capacity since the Raptor first entered operational testing about a decade ago.