The Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation has awarded Kongsberg an NKr1.1 billion ($177 million) Phase III contract to complete the development and integration of its Joint Strike Missile (JSM) with Norway’s Lockheed Martin F-35s.
Oslo has committed to the purchase of 52 conventional take-off and landing F-35As to replace its Lockheed F-16AMs. The nation is allocating funding for the aircraft on a year-by-year basis, and its first example is expected to be delivered in 2017 – the same year the JSM should be completed.
Integrating the JSM on to the platform has been a priority from the beginning of the nation’s F-35 acquisition, which led to this Phase III contract award on 2 July.
In 2012 a risk reduction study contract funded by the Norwegian defence ministry was awarded to Lockheed to explore the integration of the missile on the type. The study included physical fit checks, windtunnel tests, engineering analysis and the development of an emulator and adapter "to determine next steps in integrating the JSM into the F-35", according to the US Department of Defense.
The phased approach to the JSM acquisition began in November 2013, when a bridging phase contract was signed. According to Kongsberg the JSM Phase III investment totals NKr1.5 billion.
The JSM is designed to engage both land and sea targets and features a low-observable radar signature and autonomous target recognition.
Kongsberg has worked on integrating the missile on a number of other platforms since development began in 2008. In November 2013 the firm completed a fit check on a Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet’s hardpoints, while discussions are also under way with nations interested in fielding the weapon on the Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen E.
JSM has an international market potential of some NKr25 billion over the next 20 to 30 years, Harald Annestad, president of Kongsberg Defence Systems, says in a company statement.