The USAF has allocated funding to a flight demonstration program of a new Lockheed Martin-developed air-to-air missile (AAM).
The flight tests will be conducted by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), and will reportedly focus on range and terminal phase manoeuvrability when compared to the AIM-120D. The Cuda reportedly does not have a warhead, and instead must ‘hit-to-kill’ in order to damage or destroy its target. To this end, the missile has small thrusters in its nose and tail sections to provide the necessary manoeuvrability.
The radar-guided Cuda AAM is about half the length of and a similar diameter to the AIM-120C/D AMRAAM, and is designed to take up the same amount of space as a small diameter bomb (SDB), allowing up to six to be carried in each of the two weapons bays of the F-35A/C.