Norway and Australia sign JSM-agreement

Last week Norway and Australia signed an agreement where Australia will finance the development of a new capability for the seeker in the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), developed by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence Systems (KDA). If Australia later decides to procure the JSM, then Norway and Australia will share the cost of integrating the JSM on the F-35. This formalises the initial agreement reached during the visit by Norwegian State Secretary of Defence, Mr. Øystein Bø to Australia in February 2015, and beyond providing Norway with a missile that is both more capable and more competitive on the international market, it also marks the first time another nation has opened for the possibility of covering some of the costs related to the JSM.

– The JSM will provide one of the core capabilities of the future Norwegian Armed Forces, and this agreement not only confirms that other nations are seeing the value of what this missile can deliver, but also that they are prepared to help make it even better. Even if this so far doesn’t change our costs related to developing and integrating the JSM on the F-35, it nonetheless ensures that we will get even more in return for our own investment in the missile, says Norwegian Minister of Defence, Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.

On Monday the 21st of September, Ms. Eriksen Søreide visited Lockheed Martin’s manufacturing facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, where the F-35 is being built. On Tuesday the 22nd of September she will be participating in the formal roll-out of the first Norwegian F-35 along with the Norwegian Chief of Defence, Admiral Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, senior leadership in Lockheed Martin and Frank Kendall, US Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics. The roll-out ceremony will also include representatives from several other nations within the F-35 partnership, and the Minister of Defence believes this new agreement highlights the value of the close multinational cooperation that the F-35 helps foster.

–  This agreement is a prime example of instances where two nations, each bringing their own  specialities and skills to the table, are able to build a better system by working together compared to what they could have done on their own. This, in a nutshell, is what the F-35-partnership is all about, and it is an important example of the kind of positive ripple effects the program helps generate beyond the aircraft themselves, says Ms. Eriksen Søreide.

The Joint Strike Missile is a long-range precision guided missile that can be carried internally in the F-35. By using a combination of advanced materials, an ability to fly low, while following the terrain and an advanced passive seeker, the missile will prove both extremely difficult to detect and stop even for advanced countermeasures and defence systems. The current seeker that is being developed for the JSM is based on a technology known as “imaging infra red” that enables the missile to detect and identify targets based on its heat signature. Under the terms of the newly signed agreement, BAE Australia will be tasked by the Australian Government to integrate a RF-seeking capability on the missile, which will enable to to also locate targets on the basis of their electronic signature. This will further strengthen the ability of the missile to locate and identify targets on a modern battlefield.

The JSM is being developed by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA) on behalf of the Norwegian Armed Forces, and will be integrated on the F-35 in its first phase of follow-on development during 2022-2024. KDA has sourced components and technology for the missile from a broad network of subcontractors both in Norway and internationally to develop the new missile, and it is estimated that the JSM through its lifetime could support value generation for Norwegian industry equalling around NOK 20-25 billion.

– The Norwegian Government is determined to ensure a competitive Norwegian defence industry, and one of the most important ways of doing so is to develop this kind of cooperation with other nations. We help lay the foundations, and we invest heavily in new capabilities that are essential to our future security, and then its up to industry to prove that they can deliver, say Norwegian Minister of Defence, Ms. Ine Eriksen Søreide.

JSM og F-35
JSM og F-35. Credit: US Air Force/Forsvarsdepartementet

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