Lockheed & Kongsberg Partner to Bring NSM to JSF
In a move that has been brewing since early 2005, Lockheed Martin and Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace just entered into a Joint Marketing Agreement to market an air-launched version of Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile, which had a pair of successful tests in California recently. This “Joint Strike Missile (JSM)” is designed to be carried and launched internally from the F-35 Lightning II fighter’s internal bays (2 missiles), or external hardpoints. The 1,000-pound, stealth-enhanced NSM missiles are a generation beyond the USA’s GM-8 Harpoon, with a 130 nautical mile operational range. The missile uses Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (GPS/INS) guidance plus an imaging infrared seeker, in-flight data link and an automatic target recognizer (ATR). Then it strikes ships or land targets with a titanium warhead and programmable fuze.
Kongsberg brings experience in anti-ship missiles, weapons integration, target recognition software and mission planning systems to the partnership. Lockheed Martin will bring its experience in air-launched missiles, target recognition software, mission planning systems, integration of weapons into fixed-wing aircraft like its F-16, F-35, F-22 et. al.; and of course, its marketing reach. A study for making adaptations to both the missile and the fighter craft is already in progress, funded jointly by Norway and Australia. It is expected that the adaptations will take 3 years to reach the technological maturity required for deployment on the F-35.
Lockheed has a similar land-attack product in its AGM-158 JASSM, and other competitors exist from MBDA’s Storm Shadow/Scalp to EADS/KEPD’s Taurus to Raytheon’s anti-ship and land attack SLAM-ER. Nevertheless, the partnership may help to tip Norway’s coming fighter choice toward the F-35. The prospect of stealth-enhancing internal carriage, plus out of the gate integration with the F-35 Lightning II, could also give the JSM an entry hook for F-35 customers; Kongsberg adds that the adaptation study is being funded Norway and Australia. Other potential JSF-linked buyers may include Denmark, The Netherlands, Turkey, et. al. Lockheed Martin release |Kongsberg release.
Read “Norwegian Contracts Launch NSM Missile” for updates and further coverage.
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