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US Air Force purchases Kongsberg Joint Strike Missile for F-35As

An artist's conception of an F-35A launching a Joint Strike Missile. (Kongsberg)

The US Air Force (USAF) has signed a USD141 million contract with Norwegian company Kongsberg for Joint Strike Missiles (JSMs), intended to provide long-range anti-ship and anti-surface capability for its Lockheed Martin F-35As, according to a 31 May contract announcement.

The contract purchases 48 JSMs using fiscal year (FY) 2024 funds. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2026, with USAF operational testing beginning the same year pending satisfactory completion of developmental testing, scheduled for September 2025. The USAF ultimately intends to spend USD848 million to purchase 268 JSMs through 2028, according to FY 2025 budget documents.

β€œWe are very pleased that the US Air Force – as the world's largest operator of the F-35A Lightning II – has decided to procure JSM,” Kongsberg said in a 3 June statement.

β€œThe selection of JSMs by both the USAF and [the] Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) also fully supports NATO's vision for interchangeability of equipment between allied nations,” Eirik Lie, Kongsberg's president, said in the statement.

The JSM was designed for the RNoAF to fit in the internal bays of its F-35As, although it can also be carried on external hardpoints. Full operational capability with the RNoAF is expected in 2025. Japan and Finland have also ordered JSMs for their F-35s and the missile is under consideration for Australia, Canada, and others, according to Janes Weapons: Air-Launched .

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