The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (Forsvarsmateriell-FMA) in February conducted the first in-flight test release of a Joint Strike Missile (JSM) from the F-35A CTOL (Conventional Take-Off and Landing) Lightning II multirole stealth fighter over Edwards Air Force Base, California. The first phases of the JSM integration work are contracted directly with US authorities. The program started in 2020, and was carried out with drop from aircraft parked on the ground, and down into a foam mug encoder. This is an aircraft with a number of sensors for speed, movement, and vibrations, as well as recording of the data bus traffic in the aircraft and communication to the weapon. The last launch in February was the first to be carried out airborne.
The test in association with Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and the US Department of Defense F-35 Joint Program Offi, which was conducted using an instrumented JSM weapon integrated with the US Air Force (USAF) 412th Test Wing F-35A AF-01 instrumented test platform, was part of an ongoing programme to verify the integration and safe release of the weapon system from the Lightning II. The JSM is being developed by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA). This test launch took place as part of the JSM integration program into the F-35 fighter and is carried out in close cooperation with the F-35 Joint Program Office and US authorities. The JSM, JSOW-ER and AARGM-ER are set to become the internal bay compliant Stand-Off weapon options on Blk 4 F-35A and C variants.
The Joint Strike Missile (JSM) is a fifth-generation, long-range, precision-guided, stand-off missile system designed by Kongsberg Defence Systems and being developed for the Norwegian armed forces. The JSM is based on the well-proven and modern technology of Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The Joint Strike Missile and will feature an option for ground strike and a two-way communications line, so that the missile can communicate with the central control room or other missiles in the air. This missile will be integrated with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Studies have shown that the F-35 would be able to carry two of these in its internal bays, while additional missiles could be carried externally. The JSM includes advanced mission planning system to exploit sea and land geography.
The Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization (NDLO) and Kongsberg signed a NOK1.1bn ($178.7m) contract for the third phase development and integration of the JSM with the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft in July 2014. Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Norwegian defense company Kongsberg Defence Aerospace are developing JSM for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The development of the JSM was completed in mid-2018 after a series of successful validation tests, whereas the integration of JSM on the F-35 fighter aircraft is expected to be concluded during 2022-2024. Norway’s Ministry of Defense successfully test-fired the weapon from an F-16 Fighting Falcon in 2018. The full-scale production of the JSM is expected to generate more than 450 jobs.