Norway signs deal for F-35A JSM production

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has been awarded a multi-billion kronor contract to supply the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for Norway’s fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighters, which - as reported by Key.Aero - will be the country's sole fixed-wing combat aircraft when the F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcons are retired from service later this year.

In an October 21 release, Kongsberg stated the award from the Norwegian Defence Material Agency (NDMA) to supply the JSM was valued at NOK3.95bn ($466m) and the result of an extensive process involving the Norwegian Armed Forces and Defence Research Establishment to develop the system.

Joint Strike Missile
Integrating the JSM into the internal hold of the F-35 has been a key factor in maintaining the aircraft's stealth characteristics. Raytheon Technologies

“The Joint Strike Missile, as part of the Norwegian F-35 fighter jet, enables the Norwegian Air Force to operate within the challenging and complex environment ensuring the defence of vital national interests,” said Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace.

“The development of the missile has been ongoing since 2008, and with this contract, completes development and test and enters a full rate production phase,” Lie added.

The JSM is a fifth-generation stealth air-to-surface missile developed to fulfil the F-35’s anti-surface warfare and land attack capability requirements. The missile can be carried internally ensuring the aircraft’s low-signature capabilities, a key feature of the platform.

In Norway’s proposed 2022 defence budget, released on October 12, it was stated that stage three development of the JSM had been carried out in 2020 but that development was considered largely completed in the autumn of 2018.

Integration work involving the US National Program Office is underway with a number of test missiles already in production. Norway intends to have the missile operational on all F-35A fighters by the time the aircraft reaches full operational capability in 2025.

The defence budget proposal also revealed that, in parallel with the integration on the aircraft, the process of acquiring the JSM for Norway’s Armed Forces was already underway, with a procurement contract scheduled to be signed this year, alluding to the newly announced deal.