Small Advanced Capabilities Missile (SACM) / CUDA
The US Air Force is developing a new air-to-air missile, called "Small Advanced Capabilities Missile" (SACM), to fly its aircraft in the 2030s. The Air Force revealed the concept of SACM in a presentation in February 2017. The USAF described SACM as an affordable weapon with a higher load than current air-to-air missiles. Lockheed Martin's Cuda is a prototype small advanced capability missile (SACM). The provenance of the "Cuda" nomenclature is opaque. It is normally encountered as CUDA, suggeseting an acronym, but no expansion is offerred. It may be a contraction of "barracuda".
The Air Force Research Laboratory is looking to develop and demonstrate several critical system technologies and subsystem for the next generation of air dominance missiles, according to the slides published in April of AFRL. The SACM promises an improved solid rocket engine with highly closed turn control, low energy loss and direction control by thrust vectoring. AFRL would design a small, lightweight device with hyperagility, greater reach, high load and compressed transport capacity. The slides describe a missile with "dramatically improved capabilities against the AIM-120" and "lower cost for demolition". The missile would also incorporate the optimization of energy through more efficient guidance, navigation and control, according to AFRL.
The Air Force would complement the SACM with the Ammunition of Self-Defense in Miniature (MSDM), which would improve the self-defense capacity of future platforms, without affecting the payload of primary weapons, says the USAF. The air force has reflected for a long time on the concept of a replacement for AMRAAM, with the former head of the Air Combat Command Service requesting a sixth generation missile at the Farnborough air show last year.
In an interview with FlightGlobal in January 2017, the outgoing general of the CAC, General Herbert Carlisle, called for a long-range survival missile with combined air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. Carlisle anticipates that the missile will cross the fleets of the USAF, from fourth-generation aircraft to a future counterattack platform and the B-21 bomber from Northrop. "Rank is an important factor if we look at our potential adversaries ," Carlisle said. "I think it has to be multiband, broad spectrum - which helps in survival and reach the goal." AFRL's vision of a small missile with greater range and impact also follows Carlisle's vision.
The former chief believed that the technology will allow the USAF to achieve greater range within the current size and configuration for the F-35 and F-22. "I can not comment much on where we are going to go with what we are developing in technology, but I will tell you that we work hard," he says. "I think with the engine and the engine technology for the weapons we can get range, Based on AFRL and Carlisle's description, SACM could have shadows of the USAF and the Defense Projects Advanced Research Projects of the Joint Agency of Dual Air Command Command Role (JDRADM) program, which sought a combined air and air-to-ground missiles for the F-22A and F-35, and external transport on selected legacy aircraft. The Air Force effort spun a DARPA program, the triple-objective completion program (T3), which chased a missile that could combine the capabilities of the Raytheon AIM-120 and the High-Speed Anti-Radiation (HARM) missile. AGM-88.
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