“This is truly a milestone event, and it marks an important step forward in ensuring both our future military capability and industrial opportunities for the Norwegian defence industry,” said State Secretary of Defence Eirik Øwre Thorshaug after he officially unveiled on Thursday the first completed fuselage for the new Joint Strike Missile, developed by Kongsberg for the F-35.
The JSM is derived from the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), also developed by Kongsberg, which is already operational with the Royal Norwegian Navy. The new missile, the JSM, offers superior capabilities against well defended naval targets, and is capable of being carried internally on the F-35. This allows the aircraft to maintain its low observability while carrying a powerful long range strike capability. The unveiling on Thursday signals that the fuselage design effort has been completed, and that preparations for further testing can continue.
“We have defined a modern and capable anti-surface capability as a key requirement, and as a result we initiated the development of the JSM. We have also received indications that several other partner nations are interested in the capability offered by this missile, and we are making every effort to see that it becomes available to the F-35 user community in the future,” said state secretary Thorshaug.
Missile development is carried out in partnership with the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, and in close cooperation with the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. This ensures that the development process is supported by the combined efforts of one of the world’s most advanced missile technology clusters, which has previously generated products such as the Penguin missile, the NASAMS air defence system and the NSM.
First JSM fuselage (Norwegian Ministry of Defence)
“There is a world of difference between an F-35 carrying the JSM and one without it,” says Brigadier General Morten Klever with the Norwegian F-35 program, who as a fighter pilot participated in the integration of the Penguin missile on the F-16. “We need the ability to defeat heavily defended high-value targets without having to resort to saturating the target with less capable weapons, an option few can rely on in today’s environment. The JSM, with its long range, high manoeuvrability and accuracy, low signature, and advanced guidance provides just the capability we need,” Brigadier General Klever concludes.
The year 2013 will be very important to the JSM development programme, as it will undergo a Critical Design Review during the summer of 2013, after which preparations will begin for its final stage of development and full integration on the F-35.