In a first-ever exercise, a Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighter successfully test-launched a Norwegian anti-surface Joint Strike Missile (JSM) from its internal bay in the desert near the Edwards Air Force base in California.
The development was announced by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency that was responsible for conducting test drops of the JSM missile from the stealth fighter jet.
The testing was carried out last month as part of the program to integrate the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) into the F-35 stealth fighter jet.
Designed by Kongsberg Defence Systems, the Joint Strike Missile is a fifth-generation, long-range, precision-guided, stand-off missile system that is currently being developed for the Norwegian armed forces.
In 2014, the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization (NDLO) and Kongsberg signed a $178.7 million contract for the third phase development and integration of the JSM with the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.
Norwegian Defense Materiel Agency just released photos from a successful test conducted in February of the JSM, the air-launched version of the NSM, from good old AF-01 out of Edwards AFB pic.twitter.com/AlDX9DX78K
— Endre Lunde (@endrelunde) March 19, 2021
Designed or integrated with fixed-wing aircraft platforms to engage land and naval targets, the JSM can also be deployed to conduct anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and naval fire support (NFS) missions in the open sea, on land, and littoral environments.
The testing for the JSM with the F-35A test aircraft was carried out in close cooperation with US authorities under the JPO (Joint Program Office).
“With this first drop, it was checked that the JSM can be separated from an F-35A in a safe way. For that, we used an instrumented aircraft,” says Brigadier Jarle Nergård, who heads the F-35 department in the Defence Materiel Agency.
The testing for the integration was started last year, with the aircraft parked on the ground dropping the missiles into a foam rubber pit. This is the first time that the drops have been made from the F-35 fighter in the air.
This aircraft is also equipped with three cameras inside the weapons bay and has a separate camera pod mounted on the wing, with three more cameras, said Nergård.
“In order to be able to analyze exactly what is happening, both the aircraft and the JSM missile are marked with special photo marks that are accurately positioned. And from that, we can see through the videos exactly how the JSM missile behaves on its way out of the F-35A weapons bay,” added Nergård.