Lockheed Martin Unveils New Mako Hypersonic Missile Which Can Be Carried Internally By The F-35

Mako missile
Composite image with an F-35 carrying four Mako missiles under the wings and, in the box, the mockup displayed at the Sea Air Space 2024 exposition. (Images: Lockheed Martin and Naval News)

The new multirole, multiplatform Mako missile can be employed against targets both on land and at sea, making it a very versatile weapon that can be used in multiple mission sets.

Lockheed Martin, in partnership with CoAspire, unveiled the new Mako multi-mission hypersonic missile during this week’s Sea Air Space 2024 exposition. Initially developed with internal funding for the U.S. Air Force Stand In Attack Weapon (SiAW) program, the company is now pitching the weapon to the U.S. Navy to be employed also by carrier-based aircraft.

“For the US Navy, this is a multi-mission, highly capable system, highly survivable, affordable, so you’re going to hold many targets at risk with one weapons system that’s ready now,” Rick Loy, Senior Program Manager at the company’s Missile and Fire Control division told in an interview to Naval News, which first reported this news.

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

A mockup of Mako was displayed at CoAspire’s booth together with graphics showing the weapon employed by the F-35 Lightning II. The F-35 was in fact shown to be able to carry four Mako missiles  externally and two internally, one for each weapon bay, making Mako the first hypersonic weapon compatible with the 5th gen aircraft.

In fact, none of the hypersonic weapons currently being developed fit inside the F-35’s weapon bays, while the Lockheed Martin Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept could be the only one able to be carried externally. Should Mako be procured, an internally carried hypersonic weapon would greatly expand the capabilities of the F-35.

Details about the new weapon are scarce as the company said that 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 fit-checked, first electronically and then with the physical model, on various fighter jets and maritime patrol aircraft.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.