The governments of Norway and Australia have formalised their agreement for Australia to participate in the development of the Joint Strike Missile for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The Joint Strike Missile – JSM – is being developed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence Systems as a long-range maritime strike missile that can be carried in the F-35’s internal weapons bays. The agreement between Australia and Norway, first annocuned at the Avalon Airshow in February, will see BAE Systems Australia integrate an RF (radio frequency) seeking capability into the missile’s seeker, allowing it to locate targets from their electronic signature. If Australia also decides to procure the JSM for its F-35s the agreement, signed on September 15, will also see Australia share in the cost of integrating the JSM onto the F-35.
“The JSM will provide one of the core capabilities of the future Norwegian Armed Forces, and this agreement not only confirms that other nations are seeing the value of what this missile can deliver, but also that they are prepared to help make it even better,” Norwegian Minister of Defence, Ine Eriksen Søreide, said in a statement.
“This agreement is a prime example of instances where two nations, each bringing their own specialities and skills to the table, are able to build a better system by working together compared to what they could have done on their own. This, in a nutshell, is what the F-35 partnership is all about, and it is an important example of the kind of positive ripple effects the program helps generate beyond the aircraft themselves.”
The JSM is slated to be integrated onto the F-35 during the program’s first follow-on development phase during 2022 to 2024.
Like Australia Norway is a level 3 partner in the F-35’s system design and development phase and plans to procure the aircraft to replace its F-16s. So far Norway has placed firm orders for two F-35As, the first of which is due to be formally rolled out at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth facility on Tuesday September 22 US time.