Norwegian defense contractor Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace has signed a contract with the Japanese government to provide “the initial deliveries” of next-generation, long-range, precision-guided Joint Strike Missiles (JSMs) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, the company announced in a March 11 statement.
“This is a major milestone for the JSM program, entering into the production phase,” said Eirik Lie, the president of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, adding that the company was “very proud to have been selected by Japan to provide the JSM for their F-35 fleet.”
The parties did not reveal the contract value or the number of weapons systems to be delivered. The company also did not disclose the timing of the deliveries.
However, reports state that Japanese budget documents show the country allocated 7.3 billion yen (U.S. $65.6 million) for the missile acquisition for the coming Japanese fiscal year, which begins March 31.
“We are planning to introduce the JSM (Joint Strike Missile) that will be mounted on the F-35A (stealth fighter) as ‘stand-off’ missiles that can be fired beyond the range of enemy threats,” then Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera had stated in December in 2017.
“The international F-35 user consortium is showing great interest in the JSM and Kongsberg is very proud to have been selected by Japan to provide the JSM for their F-35 fleet. This is a major milestone for the JSM program, entering into the production phase,” Eirik Lie, president of Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace, was quoted in the March 11 company statement as saying.
The JSM is based on Naval Strike Missile (NSM) and was developed in partnership with Raytheon. The JSM has a top range of roughly 350 miles and a low altitude penetration range of about half that. It carries a 500lb warhead and is guided by a navigation suite that includes GPS, INS, and terrain mapping—the latter of which will help out greatly in GPS denied environments.
JSM has an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker for extremely precise terminal homing.