Lockheed Martin Unveils Versatile Mako Missile

The new multi-purpose, multi-platform Mako missile can be used against both land and sea targets, making it a highly versatile weapon that can be used in multiple missions.

Lockheed Martin, in collaboration with CoAspire, unveiled the new Mako multi-mission hypersonic missile during the Sea Air Space 2024 exhibition held this week. Initially developed with internal funding for the US Air Force’s Stand In Attack Weapon (SiAW) program, the company is now presenting the weapon to the US Navy for use by carrier-based aircraft as well.

“For the US Navy, this is a multi-mission system, very capable, highly survivable and affordable, so it will be able to hold many targets in check with a weapons system that is already ready,” said Rick. Loy, Senior Program Director of the company’s Missiles and Fire Control division, in an interview with Naval News, which was the first to report this news.

Lockheed Martin said it is the first time the new hypersonic missile has been publicly displayed since development began seven years ago. According to the company, the missile can be used by the F-35, F-22, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, P-8 and “any aircraft that has 30-inch rings,” such as the much-used BRU-32 heavy ejector frame.

A Mako mockup was on display at the CoAspire booth along with graphics showing the weapon used by the F-35 Lightning II. In fact, it was demonstrated that the F-35 can carry four Mako missiles on the outside and two on the inside, one in each weapons bay, making Mako the first hypersonic weapon compatible with the 5th generation aircraft.

In fact, none of the hypersonic weapons currently being developed will fit in the F-35’s weapons bays, while Lockheed Martin’s air-breathing hypersonic weapon concept may be the only one capable of external transport. Should Mako be acquired, an internally carried hypersonic weapon would greatly expand the F-35’s capabilities.

Details about the new weapon are scarce, as the company said they could not be disclosed. The few details available mention multiple guidance methods and a top speed of at least Mach 5. Loy confirmed that Mako has been tested on several fighters and maritime patrol aircraft, first electronically and then with physical modeling.

Stefano D’Urso