Successfully tested the new cruise missile, with which the attack capacity of the F-35 will take a big step forward

Thanks to the new anti-ship and multi-purpose land attack missile or Joint Strike Missile (JSM), the commissioning of which has taken a big step after passing the test phase, the long-range attack capacity of the 5th generation F-35 fighter will be large in the next few years give a giant step.

The Norwegian Defense Materials Agency or Forsvarsmateriell (FMA) successfully carried out the first in-flight launch of the JSM missile with the F-35A test and test aircraft registered as AF-1. The launch took place over the desert test area near Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California.

The JSM, both in their JSOW-ER cruise attack variants (Joint Standoff Weapon-Extended Range) and in the suppression of enemy anti-aircraft defenses or the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER), which becomes the stand – the weapon options (out of range of enemy defenses) are designed to be fully compatible with the internal bay of the Block 4 F-35A and C variants.

The JSM is being developed by the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace (KDA) in full coordination with the North American manufacturer. This announced test launch took place as part of the JSM integration program for the F35 fighter and is being conducted in close collaboration with the Joint Program Office (JPO) of the F-35 and the United States military authorities.

The first phases of the JSM integration work will be completed directly with the US authorities. The test program began in 2020 and was conducted using simulated rocket fire from aircraft parked on the ground, which after its success resulted in the aforementioned launch. In February it was the first to be carried out by air.

With this first drop of air, we checked whether the JSM had safely separated from an F-35A. We used an instrumented aircraft for this test, said Jarle Nergrd, FMA office manager of the F-35 program, which will be Norway’s main air defense system and its air power contribution to NATO for decades.

Regarding the F-35 instrumented with AF-1, Nergrd stated that it was an aircraft with a range of speed, motion and vibration sensors, as well as recording data bus traffic on the aircraft and communication with the weapon. This aircraft is also equipped with three cameras in the gun bay and has a capsule under the wings that is equipped with three cameras. In order to analyze exactly what is happening, both the aircraft and the JSM missile are marked with special photographic blocks that are precisely placed on both the aircraft and the missile. And based on that, the videos let us see exactly how the JSM missile behaves when it leaves the F-35A’s hold, he concluded.

In addition and in parallel, Kongsberg has developed an instrumented rocket so that all of its movements are recorded and sent to the ground via a computer link. The AF-1 has similar instrumentation to know exactly how the stealth fighter is behaving over the same period, and this data is also sent to the ground. In addition, it flies with an associated aircraft, in this case a Lockheed Martin F-16 two-seater fighter-bomber, which is equipped with a rear-seat camera that externally records everything that happens. All data and videos are analyzed by the Norwegian team consisting of the FMA, the KDA and the Defense Research Center or the Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt (FFI).

The data is also being analyzed by the Edwards test team and the U.S. Air Force Seek Eagle Office (AFSEO), which is responsible for approving the integration of the JSM into the F-35A. This data is compared to models previously manufactured by both industry (KDA) and AFSEO. (Julio Maz Sanz).

Photo: The F-35A AF-1 launches the Norwegian JSM missile near Edwards Air Force Base. (Photo Forsvarsmateriell).

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