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DSEI Japan 2023: Kongsberg set to deliver initial JSMs to Japan

The Kongsberg air-launched Joint Strike Missile is fired from a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in this artist's impression. (Norwegian MoD)

Japan is set to take delivery of an initial batch of Joint Strike Missiles (JSMs), manufacturer Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has confirmed to Janes.

Speaking at the DSEI Japan 2023 show in Chiba on 16 March, a representative from Kongsberg said the country's first JSMs will be supplied “very soon” to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) for integration into its growing fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft. He did not elaborate.

The representative also said that additional Japanese orders for the JSMs are expected. Japan's defence budget for fiscal year 2023, which commences in April, allocates funding for additional units of the air-launched, precision-guided missile.

In March 2019, Kongsberg announced the signing of a contract with Japan to provide initial deliveries of the missile, which has been designed to fit in the internal weapons bay of the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A.

In November 2019, Kongsberg signed a follow-on order for JSMs worth NOK450 million (USD42 million). A second follow-on order – worth NOK820 million – was announced by the Norwegian company in December 2020.

The Kongsberg representative also said there were possibilities to supply the JSM to other JASDF platforms. He said the JASDF has expressed interest in integrating the JSM on other fighter aircraft such as its F-15Js, which are currently undergoing an upgrade by manufacturer Boeing.

Kongsberg is also co-ordinating with the JASDF about expanded Japanese industry involvement in the JSM procurement programme. This could include local companies' involvement in the supply of logistics and maintenance services to the JSM, the representative said.

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