September 17, 2013
Credit: Bill Sweetman/AWST
FORT WASHINGTON, Md. — Lockheed Martin is showing three conceptual air-launched missiles at the Air Force Association (AFA) show outside Washington this week, two of which are air-to-air weapons.
The Supersonic Testbed Risk Reduction (SSTRR) represents work on a future weapon in the same size class as the AIM-120 Amraam. The company is carrying out trade studies involving air-breathing and rocket propulsion, including multi-pulse motors, hit-to-kill technology and different guidance technologies. “Everyone wants everything,” a Lockheed Martin engineer explains. “If everyone in the room is crying, we’ve got it about right.”
On show for the first time at AFA is a model of Lockheed Martin’s Cuda, a so-called “Halfraam” weapon about half as long as an Amraam and compact enough to fit six missiles into each bay of the F-35 or F-22. Cuda draws on the hit-to-kill technology used on the PAC-3 missile, is designed to have a radar seeker and has both movable tails and forward attitude control motors for high agility. The company is not disclosing Cuda’s design range, but one variation of the concept is a two-stage missile with a similar total length to Amraam, presumably with the goal of covering a wide range envelope with a single missile design.
Both Cuda and SSTRR are being supported by independent research and development money and are being pushed as concepts of interest under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Air Dominance Initiative project.
Also being shown here is Lockheed Martin’s concept for the U.S. Air Force’s High Speed Strike Weapon, the planned operational follow-on to the X-51A scramjet demonstrator. The two-stage weapon has an inward-turning inlet and circular-section engine, described as being more volumetrically efficient than the demonstrator’s wedge shape.