Norway, Australia Team To Upgrade Missile for F-35

FORT WORTH, Texas — Norway and Australia have minted a deal to develop a new seeker capability for the Joint Strike Missile, a core weapon planned for integration onto Norway’s F-35.

Under the Sept. 15 agreement, Australia will finance the development of a new RF-seeking capability, which will enable the missile to locate targets based on electronic signature. BAE Australia will develop and integrate the capability, according to a Sept. 21 statement from Norway’s Ministry of Defense.

If Australia later decides to procure the JSM, developed by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence Systems, Norway and Australia will share the cost of integrating the JSM on the F-35.

The new seeker will provide JSM dual-seeker capability, which enables the missile to operate in all weather conditions, Executive Vice President of Kongsberg Group and President of KDS Harald Ånnestad told Defense News on Monday. Kongsberg expects the announcement to fuel increased interest in the JSM from other international partners, he said.

This marks the first time another nation has discussed the possibility of covering some of the costs related to the JSM, the Sept. 21 statement reads.

JSM is a long-range, precision-guided missile that will be carried internally in the F-35. The current seeker being developed for the missile is based on a technology known as “imaging infra red” that enables the missile to detect and identify targets based on heat signature, according to the statement.

JSM will be integrated on Norway’s F-35 in the first phase of follow-on development in the 2022-2024 time frame.

“This agreement is a prime example of instances where two nations, each bringing their own specialties 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,” Norwegian Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide said, according to the statement. “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.”

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