Home Military Aviation US Navy wants Sidekick internal weapons rack for F-35C to carry 6 AIM-120 air-to-air missiles

US Navy wants Sidekick internal weapons rack for F-35C to carry 6 AIM-120 air-to-air missiles

by Dario Leone
Lockheed Martin unveils Sidekick: the new weapons rack that enables F-35A and C to carry two more missiles internally

The Sidekick is a modification from Lockheed Martin to allow the A and C variants to carry up to six AIM-120 air-to-air missiles (instead of four) in its internal weapons bay.

The Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2021 Unfunded Priorities List has put in a request to equip low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 15 F-35C fighters with the Sidekick internal weapons rack.

The Sidekick is a modification from Lockheed Martin to allow the A and C variants to carry up to six AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles (instead of four) in its internal weapons bay.

Sidekick is not compatible with the F-35B, because it features a smaller weapons bay.

As we have explained last year, Lockheed hasn’t released details of the design of the Sidekick mechanism. It’s possible the Sidekick replaces the AIM-120 launch adapter in the high section of the internal bay with a mechanism that can store two of the Raytheon-built, radar-guided missiles in the same space as one now.

The F-35C brings radar-evading stealth capability to the carrier deck for the first time in US naval aviation history. The F-35C carrier variant sets new standards in weapon system integration, lethality, maintainability, combat radius and payload that bring true multimission power projection capability from the sea.

The F-35C combines lessons learned from previous aircraft with technology breakthroughs to produce a fighter that retains its stealthy advantage with minimal low observable maintenance, even in the harshest shipboard conditions.

The F-35C matches 5th generation survivability with major advances in network-enabled mission systems, reliability and interoperability. It is a first-day-of-the-war fighter with the capability to dominate adversaries in the air or on the surface, while surviving the most formidable threat environments.

US Navy wants Sidekick internal weapons rack for F-35C to carry 6 AIM-120 air-to-air missiles
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35C Lightning II VFA-125 Rough Raiders, NJ406, 169160 / 2018

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

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