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Japan awards Kongsberg follow-on contract for Joint Strike Missiles

Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace announced on 12 November that it has signed a NOK450 million (USD49.2 million) follow-on contract to provide additional precision-guided Joint Strike Missiles (JSMs) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) growing fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.

“The international F-35 user community is showing great interest in the JSM. Kongsberg is very proud to have been selected by Japan to provide the JSM for their F-35 fleet,” Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, was quoted as saying in a statement.

Computer-generated imagery showing an F-35 releasing JSMs. Kongsberg announced on 12 November that it had been awarded a follow-on contract to provide an undisclosed number of these missiles for Japan’s F-35 fighters.

No details were provided about the number of missiles set to be supplied, or the delivery schedule.

The move comes after the Norwegian company announced on 11 March that it had signed a contract to provide an undisclosed number of “initial” JSMs for Japan’s F-35 fighters. The value of that contract was not revealed.

Development of the stand-off JSM, which is the only long-range sea- and land-target missile that can be carried internally in the F-35, began in 2008 and was completed in mid-2018 after a series of validation test firings.

The JASDF already has 42 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35As on order, with at least 13 having been delivered to date. One was lost in a crash during a combat exercise on 9 April. The service plans to eventually field a total of 105 F-35As, along with 42 short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35Bs.

The JASDF also plans to equip each of its F-35As with the JSM. The service secured JPY7.9 billion (USD71 million) for fiscal year 2019 to acquire an undisclosed number of the missiles, which have a range of 500 km, according to officials at the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

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