I Get to Play 'the Capability Speculator' For a ChangeHat tip: The Aviationist via The Unwanted Blog
I freely admit most of it will be guessing (even though most of that is "Educated Guessing")
From the articles at the links, we find a little more info concerning a Lockheed Martin Air-to-Air Missile concept that 'someone' would like to be developed into a viable weapon system. Read it all at the sources, I'm not going to repeat verbatim what was revealed here, we'll just use the info as required.
There's not much hard info to go on yet, and I would hesitate to speculate about it, like I'm going to, if it were an actual DoD program. I'm also going to play off comments, if there are any, that may come up on this topic.
So for this initial post, I'm just going to note that at 'The Aviationist', the article has a source saying the CUDA is about Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) size. IF the CUDA concept shown IS the same 'size' as the SDB then the component breakdown of the missile would be as shown in the graphic below:
|CUDA Missile Component Dimensions If same size as SDB, Original Photo found at The Aviationist|
That leaves ~8 inches of mysterious 'spots' to be explained. I can think of a lot of functions that these 'spots' could be related to, and in the absence of additional information, none leap out as 'most likely'. If we begin making assumptions, then.....maybe some do. If we assume capabilities planned for the F-35 affected the design, then perhaps some sort of data link antenna array? If we assume it is related to the warhead (or as I mentioned at Lowther's place in the comments, the trademarked CUDA name) are there 'teeth' in there to shred airplane structure and systems after it has impacted?
The concept as presented (size of an SDB) would have pretty decent supersonic drag, as it's 'fineness ratio' is close to the optimum ~14 (Raymer) which is a good thing (but no guarantee) for getting longer 'range'. It is about equidistant on the short side from the optimum as the AIM-7F/M Sparrow is on the high side. See table below.
|Data Source: AF.mil|
Almost Forgot: One Potential F-35 Loadout:
|One CUDA Missile Carriage Concept: 12 CUDAs in F-35 Weapon Bays, 6 to a side.|
Another source adds: "Let's just say if they can turn a missile into a 'hittile' that is a big deal."If you weren't around when British Aerospace was using that turn of the phrase as a marketing hook for their point-defense Rapier missile system, you might think the 'another source' above was being pretty clever.