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FARNBOROUGH: Norway pushes JSM to F-35 customers

The Norwegian air force is promoting the integration of its indigenous anti-surface warfare Kongsberg Joint Strike Missile (JSM) to other future operators of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Speaking at Farnborough air show, Lt Col Sigurd Fongen says that the Norwegian requirement for the additional anti-ship capability on-board its F-35s is not unique to the country, and other future adopters of the aircraft could choose to co-develop the munition if desired.

The air force is in talks with the Australian government regarding the potential integration of the JSM on the Royal Australian Air Force’s F-35As, a decision on which is expected in 6-12 months, Fongen says.

“We are in discussions as we speak…We would obviously like other nations to get involved.”

It was announced in early July that Norwegian company Kongsberg was contracted for a NKr 1.1 billion ($161 million) phase III contract to complete the development and integration of JSM on the Norwegian F-35As.

“JSM is the first weapon that is tailored to the F-35 weapons bay,” Fongen adds. “We think all other F-35 users with this requirement will consider using this.”

Oslohas committed to the purchase of 52 conventional take-off and landing F-35As to replace its Lockheed F-16AMs.

It was further announced during the air show that Raytheon and Kongsberg have teamed up to promote the JSM globally.

“The US and its allies gain new and innovative options in the [anti-surface warfare] arena through this agreement,” says Taylor Lawrence, president of Raytheon Missile Systems.

“Raytheon’s global development capability allows us to identify and offer the advanced and affordable solutions our customers require for the complex missions of the future.”

Fonden says that although the political situation in Norway means that it is relatively stable militarily, it still needs to have this capability.

“This is a low tension area, and we’d like to keep it that way,” he adds. “From the Norwegian government’s perspective, it wants to keep up a good situational awareness.”

He adds that there is a requirement for the military to be lean and small, so only one capability can be procured. Consequently, this aircraft has to have all of the operational capability in one platform, which is why it chose to add the anti-surface warfare weapon.

Integration testing will be carried out on the F-16AMs that the service is replacing with the F-35, and the missile is expected to reach full operational capability by 2025.

Additional reporting by Ellis Taylor.

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