PICTURE: Joint Strike Missile makes F-35 debut

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Kongsberg's developmental Joint Strike Missile (JSM) has been attached to a Lockheed Martin F-35 for the first time at the airframer's Fort Worth, Texas facility.

Installed on 27 February as part of a "fit check" using one of the stealthy fighter's external weapons pylons, the munition will undergo a further test later this year to verify that it is also able to be carried within the F-35's internal weapons bay.

Lockheed will conduct similar external trials on all three variants of the fighter, while internal fit checks of the JSM will be confined to the conventional take-off and landing F-35A ordered by Norway, says Norwegian F-35 programme director Anders Melheim.

 credit - lockheed martin

 Lockheed Martin

A critical design review of the missile will be carried out in mid-2013 to confirm that integration efforts can continue.

Oslo will acquire up to 52 F-35s for operation by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Two initial examples will be delivered in 2015 with a second pair due to follow in 2016. These will remain in the USA to support training activities.

Deliveries under the main part of the up to NKr62.6 billion ($10.9 billion) order will commence in 2017.