Today, Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews announced that Australia has entered into a co-operative agreement with the Norwegian Ministry of Defense to develop the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for the Lockheed Martin F-35A, aka Joint Strike Fighter. The fifth-generation, long-range, precision-guided, stand-off missile system is designed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS and can be deployed to conduct anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and naval fire support (NFS).
The missile is expected to be realized by 2017, and the F-35A specific version should be ready in time for Australia’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter reaching final operating capability in 2023 (integration of the JSM should occur between 2022-2024). The JSM will be configured to fit inside the F-35’s armament bay, in order to maintain the stealth capabilities of the plane. Australia is acquiring 72 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, whereas Norway plans to purchase 52 planes.
According to Defense News, BAE Systems Australia will help with developing an independent sensor to detect and identify hostile radars. “This agreement enables BAE Systems Australia and Kongsberg to continue their industrial cooperation on the passive radio frequency (RF) sensor supporting its transition to qualification and manufacture. We look forward to working with both governments by assisting with the JSM F-35 system integration effort, and supporting any future needs the Australian Government might have,” stated Graeme Bent, BAE’s director of Land and Integrated Systems.
Australian Minister of Defense, Kevin Andrews, noted:
“This agreement builds on the countries’ long-standing bilateral cooperation on research and development of Defense equipment, and acknowledges the importance of a robust maritime strike capability to Norway and Australia. Participating now in a co-operative JSM development program with Norway will maximize the cost effectiveness of Australia’s contribution, and ensure the weapon capability is developed and integrated onto the F-35A in the timeline required by Australia, should the Joint Strike Missile be ultimately considered for acquisition by Government later this decade.”
According to airforce-technology.com, the design features of the JSM are as follows:
“The Joint Strike Missile incorporates advanced composite materials and employs low-signature / stealth technology, thus offering a low radar signature. It offers superior flexibility in target engagement planning.
The missile system is equipped with air intakes, wings and tail fins. It has a length of 4m and a weight of 400kg. The front section of the JSM incorporates an imaging target seeker to discriminate between land and non-targets. The middle section is equipped with fuel tank and a 125kg HE fragmentation warhead.
The high-mobility JSM system is fitted with an accurate navigation system to support flight close to terrain. An advanced engagement planning system is installed to accurately engage targets using geographical information in the area.”