Military Review

Prospective air-to-air missile Lockheed Martin CUDA

The United States is mass-producing the latest Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, which are often claimed to be superior to all existing aircraft in combat performance. However, at the moment, the F-35 can not fully reveal its potential, using only existing types of weapons. Specifically, to expand the capabilities of the latest fighters, Lockheed Martin is currently developing a new air-to-air short-range missile. The result of a project called CUDA should be the creation of aviation missiles with higher performance compared to existing ammunition.

Work on the CUDA project started, tentatively, in 2010-11. As far as is known, Lockheed Martin registered the name of its new project as a trademark in 2011. Probably, by this time, the development of aviation ammunition had left the stage of preliminary design of the appearance. Last September, Washington hosted the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2012, organized by the United States Air Force Association. Some time later, Air Force Magazine published photos from this event. One of the photos showed a mockup of an F-35 fighter with some new missiles in the cargo bay. Soon, representatives of Lockheed Martin told about the existence of a new project called CUDA, and within the framework of the conference, its first demonstration to a limited number of people took place.

According to the developer, at that time the project was in the process of negotiating technical requirements with the customer in the United States Air Force. The main goal of creating a CUDA rocket was to increase the ammunition load of the newest fighters by two or three times. At the same time, talking about the new rocket to the general public, representatives of Lockheed Martin noted that due to the secrecy of the project, so far most of its details cannot be announced. In this regard, all publicly available information about the CUDA rocket are estimated. Estimates are made on the basis of published information and published images of prospective aircraft ammunition.

Despite the lack of information, you can imagine the approximate shape of the CUDA rocket and try to guess its prospects. From the photographs of the exhibition layout one can draw some conclusions about the dimensions of the rocket. In size, it is similar to the small-sized bomb GBU-39 SDB (Small Diameter Bomb - "Small Bomb"). Recall, the GBU-39 ammunition has a total length of 1,8 meter and a diameter of 19 cm. Thus, the CUDA missile is about half the size of the main American medium-range missile AIM-120 AMRAAM. It is the dimensions of the new missile that will allow in the future to significantly increase the fighter’s ammunition. The starting weight of the CUDA rocket is unknown. A comparison with AIM-120 suggests that this parameter of the new rocket will be within 70-80 kg.

Judging by the available data, the CUDA rocket will have an original powerplant resembling that used on some missiles of other classes. In the tail part of the hull will be placed solid sustainer engine. In addition, in the images of the rocket, in front of the case, characteristic perforation is noticeable. Probably, in addition to the aerodynamic rudders, the promising aircraft ammunition will receive a large number of gas rudders. Such a control system is able to provide high maneuverability. The ability to actively maneuver the CUDA rocket is necessary due to the original method of hitting the target.

Representatives of the company-developer have already said that the CUDA rocket will not carry the warhead in the usual sense. It is assumed that this ammunition will carry out the so-called. kinetic interception. This means that the missile guidance system must point it exactly at the target. Moving at high speed ammunition can cause serious damage to the target only with the help of its energy. This method of attacking a target has both advantages and disadvantages. The undoubted advantage of the kinetic interception is the possibility of rocket relief, since it does not need a separate warhead with an explosive charge and a fragmentation shirt or ready-made fragments. The main disadvantage of this method of destroying targets is the need for a guidance system capable of providing a missile collision with a target at high flight speeds.

Prospective air-to-air missile Lockheed Martin CUDA

At the moment, it is known that the CUDA rocket will be equipped with an active radar homing head (ARGSN). This will make it possible to conduct a missile combat using the “launched-forgotten” method. However, such a homing head raises some questions for which there are no answers yet. Thus, the existing kinetic interceptors used in US missile defense systems are equipped with infrared homing heads (ICGSN). After the announcement of information about some of the details of the CUDA missile appearance among specialists and the public interested, doubts arose as to the viability and prospects of using an active radar seeker. However, it is worth remembering that the CUDA project will reach the testing stage only after several years. Therefore, the designers of the company Lockheed Martin have enough time to create and refine a workable system with the required guidance accuracy.

In the context of a promising missile guidance system, it is also necessary to recall assumptions about the reasons for which CUDA will receive ARGSN. This type of homing head may be more suitable for use with the latest American fighter aircraft equipped with internal ammunition compartments. A rocket with an active radar head is able to quickly and reliably find a target after the aircraft’s exit of the aircraft. In the case of using an infrared homing head, launching from the inside of the fighter's compartment can reduce effectiveness. The fact is that before launching modern missiles with ICGSN need to pre-capture the target. Carrying out this operation after launch does not currently provide the required reliability of search and target acquisition.

Overall dimensions of CUDA amid AMRAAM

The flight qualities of the new air-to-air missile are still classified. Based on the available information about the method of intercepting goals, you can make approximate assumptions. To destroy modern and future aerodynamic targets, a CUDA rocket must accelerate to a speed of at least 2M. In addition, kinetic interception implies high maneuverability with high resistance to longitudinal overloads.

The adoption of a new CUDA missile will undoubtedly noticeably raise the combat potential of the US air force in a close missile battle. So, in the photo from Air Force Magazine magazine, the mock-up of the F-35 fighter "carried" the 12 CUDA missiles right away. It is too early to say exactly how it will be possible to combine the armament of these aircraft, but nothing prevents to build assumptions on this subject. For example, an F-35 aircraft can carry four AIM-120 AMRAAM and CUDA missiles only in the internal compartments. Such a composition of weapons allows the fighter to carry out interception of targets at small and medium distances with sufficient effectiveness. In addition, if necessary, it is possible to use external suspension units, which increases the number of several types of missiles ready for use.

The main combat work of CUDA missiles will be the attack of aerodynamic targets that are at a short distance from the fighter. At the same time, according to some rumors, the aircraft carriers of these missiles will receive a tool for the destruction of foreign ammunition. There is a version according to which a CUDA rocket can attack and destroy ground-to-air ammunition. It is unlikely that such an application of missiles is expedient and makes sense. The speed of modern anti-aircraft ammunition is such that CUDA may simply not have time to complete the necessary maneuver and destroy the enemy missile when confronted with it. Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that Lockheed Martin experts did not consider the issue of such a use of a promising rocket.

As we can see, despite the laconism of the development company, there is already an opportunity to get an idea of ​​the new rocket for modern American fighters. Do not forget that all these are only assumptions and the actual appearance of the CUDA rocket may differ significantly from them. Regardless of the correctness of those or other assumptions, we can confidently say that the new project, due to some of the declared features of the future rocket, may become one of the most difficult in stories by Lockheed Martin. In order to achieve high rocket performance, it is necessary to create several complex systems at once that will exceed the capabilities of modern equipment in their capabilities. If the CUDA project is crowned with success, then the US Air Force in the foreseeable future will be able to expand the range of its weapons and increase the combat potential, at least with respect to the quantitative aspects of the fighter’s ammunition assembly.

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  1. Romn
    Romn 4 October 2013 08: 55
    I wish her to bring down their own planes! smile
    1. Aaron Zawi
      Aaron Zawi 4 October 2013 09: 25
      Quote: Romn
      I wish her to bring down their own planes! smile
      How old are you? request
      1. Romn
        Romn 4 October 2013 11: 48
        A similar question, if you don’t understand sarcasm !?
  2. Nayhas
    Nayhas 4 October 2013 09: 12
    For some reason, the author did not mention that while creating the CUDA rocket, the LM company designed it using the developments on the MIM-104F (PAC-3) missile defense system. SAM MIM-104F (PAC-3) also operates on the principle of "hit-to-kill", this is achieved due to the high maneuverability of the missile using 180 micro-solid propellants. In theory, CUDA is a reduced version of the MIM-104F, only the GOS is multi-mode, and there is no warhead. There is no doubt that LM will cope with the task, the question is in funding ...
    1. 4 October 2013 21: 13
      In my opinion, this is the same question. Do modern aircraft need quick-fire guns and maneuverability? Or all the same missiles. Once this issue was resolved in our favor.
      1. Nayhas
        Nayhas 4 October 2013 22: 28
        Does a modern airplane need rapid-fire guns and maneuverability? Or are missiles all the same?

        The question is whether it will be possible to use a gun. When the pilot receives information about the attack by missiles, he will not be able to cut electronic warfare means, launch traps, or either try to go to max. speed or terribly maneuver, it’s already as a load will allow ... In general, try to disrupt the guidance of enemy missiles. Whether he will be able to capture an enemy aircraft and launch his missiles at this time depends on the enemy’s radar and ESR. The enemy, if not sure about the BVB at this time, can either add missiles or dump them at the base.
        1. mikkado31
          mikkado31 4 October 2013 22: 54
          The Israelis still prefer to shoot down the enemy with guns than rockets. in this they are the best.
 4 October 2013 22: 58
          The enemy at this time (if more maneuverable). A shot from a 30mm gun. And when the EW from the gun does not help.
  3. Andriuha077
    Andriuha077 4 October 2013 11: 50
    PAC-3 is ignored undeservedly, it is present only on the shirt of a specialist bending over it. It should be noted that:
    The new missile is designed to replace AMRAAM, and is not used along with it at the same ranges and overloads, increasing the damaging effect and doubling the ammunition. 12 missiles in internal compartments alone.
    The new rocket is billed as "lethal. Low Cost" - cheap and deadly.
    Among the targets, in addition to air, land and sea, and along with anti-aircraft ballistic missiles are also listed, which should give an idea of ​​speed and maneuverability.
  4. mga04
    mga04 4 October 2013 12: 44
    Very interesting product. Traditional aerodynamic rudders will be used over a long distance, and when approaching for the purpose, when high maneuverability is needed, steering micro-jet engines (MRS) will come into play. The small length and mass will allow the rocket to withstand overloads of tens of G. In addition, which interferes with launching at the same time launch still not fulfilled MRP. This, of course, is not a full-fledged warhead, but its amazing ability will obviously increase. I think so.
    1. Andriuha077
      Andriuha077 4 October 2013 15: 19
      Most of the striking elements of the traditional warhead, undermining to create a field, knowingly miss the target. At the final stage, a new empty rocket gets its maximum acceleration, hitting the target completely and completely. Therefore, traditional fragmentation, rod warheads are obviously less effective.
      1. mga04
        mga04 4 October 2013 16: 55
        I absolutely do not mind. Just what prevents to increase the effect on the target by undermining not used MRP after rocket penetration into it.
        1. Andriuha077
          Andriuha077 4 October 2013 17: 45
          So they burn more slowly, they will not be particularly noticeable, although it is unlikely that the developer will refuse to burn all fuel, but it is better in favor of acceleration and pure kinetics, which will fly exactly where.
  5. Klementev_Sergey
    Klementev_Sergey 4 October 2013 12: 45
    Maybe the high maneuverability of the rocket is just for super-maneuverable fighters?
  6. chunga-changa
    chunga-changa 4 October 2013 12: 52
    "In 2011, it registered the name of its new project as a trademark."
    I wonder if Lockheed will be every time I use the word "where" in a business to demand royalties.
  7. nikcris
    nikcris 4 October 2013 15: 02
    Quote: chunga-changa
    "In 2011, it registered the name of its new project as a trademark."
    I wonder if Lockheed will be every time I use the word "where" in a business to demand royalties.

    Journalists wrote garbage. nVIDIA CUDA. am
  8. Wiruz
    Wiruz 4 October 2013 15: 28
    I thought it would be talking about some super-long-range missile, but here you understand if there is a short range ... A little off topic, but I ask, no one knows when the KS-172 will be adopted for service there?
    1. Andriuha077
      Andriuha077 4 October 2013 15: 34
      The developer considers her MEDIUM RANGE - medium range. Short range on the conscience of the author of the note.
    2. Ascetic
      Ascetic 4 October 2013 16: 41
      Quote: Wiruz
      , no one knows when they will adopt the KS-172?

      She was never adopted by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. although the characteristics of the rocket are quite interesting. took the K-37M and RVV-BD rocket. for MIG-31BM. Although the KS-172 in my opinion would be a good fit for the SU-35 and even the PAK FA. Now it will most likely be exported. On the picture.

      MiG-31M with K-37 missiles under the fuselage and R-73 under the wing

      Comparison of K-37 and RVV-BD missiles

      RVV-DB missile at the MAKS-2011 air show, August 2011

      1. Wiruz
        Wiruz 4 October 2013 19: 42
        Drive the most long-range explosive rocket in the world for export?!?!?! Pah-pah-pah
        1. Ascetic
          Ascetic 4 October 2013 21: 11
          Quote: Wiruz
          Drive the most long-range explosive rocket in the world for export?!?!?! Pah-pah-pah

          R-37 is fully debugged and put into production.
          Under constrained funding, the Russian Air Force preferred to use the R-37 rocket developed before the collapse of the USSR [2]. This was influenced by the tests of 1994, when the R-37 missile successfully intercepted an air target at a range of 300 km, comparable to the capabilities of the KS-172 - twice as long as the range of any other missiles in service in the world [4]. Such a range makes it possible to confidently hit AWACS and electronic warfare patrol aircraft, air command posts and strategic bombers to remove cruise missile discharges; while not being endangered by escort fighters. Thus, the Russian Air Force, armed with a large number of MiG-31 interceptors, could effectively solve all the tasks of protecting and controlling airspace, and therefore did not experience an urgent need for more long-range missiles.

          And KS-127 is financed by Indians for their SU-30MK, which are less fast and high-altitude than the 31st MiGs, therefore requiring longer-range missiles to provide comparable capabilities to hit remote targets.
  9. uzer 13
    uzer 13 4 October 2013 19: 42
    Something darkens the Yankees, a radar guidance system here is clearly not enough.
  10. 0255
    0255 4 October 2013 21: 06
    I won’t be surprised if one such rocket costs more than the F-35 yes
    1. Andriuha077
      Andriuha077 5 October 2013 12: 29
      In the meantime, LOW COST flaunts on it (see the leaflet above).
  11. bif
    bif 5 October 2013 04: 11
    The USA is mass-producing the latest Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters, which, as is often claimed, are superior to all existing aircraft in combat performance But the Australians said that the F-35 is a third-generation aircraft with elements of the fifth, and called it a technical error.
    1. 0255
      0255 5 October 2013 11: 14
      But the Australians said that the F-35 is a third-generation aircraft with elements of the fifth, and called it a technical error.

      The Japanese also tried to beg the F-22 Raptor from the USA instead of the F-35, and now they are making their own 5th generation fighter
  12. Sledgehammer
    Sledgehammer 4 February 2014 02: 31
    It’s a great idea if everything goes well. The main thing is that the attacked enemy plane
    was not made according to "Stealth" technology, inadvertently missed by.