Roketsan has signed a teaming agreement with Lockheed Martin to manufacture a new generation air-to-surface standoff cruise missile for use on the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft.
Called SOM-J, the missile will be an autonomous, long-range, low-observable, all-weather, precision air-to-surface cruise missile, and is tailored for internal carriage on the fifth-generation fighter.
Under the terms of agreement, the two companies jointly develop, produce, market and support SOM-J for internal carriage on the Turkish Air Force F and Nato allied F-35s or external carriage on other aircraft.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control executive vice-president Rick Edwards said: "SOM-J will provide the F-35 and other aircraft an exceptional capability to meet the most challenging mission requirements.
"We look forward to combining the skills and know-how of our two great companies to produce a world-class system to meet customers’ expanding needs for long-range, survivable cruise missile technology."
Roketsan Board chairman Eyüp Kaptan said: "At Roketsan, we believe this teaming will increase the attention on SOM-J and present a superior solution to fulfil the requirements of anti-surface warfare capabilities on the F-35 aircraft."
Manufactured by TÜBITAK Defense Industries Research and Development Institute, the SOM cruise missile is a family of launch-and-leave precision strike weapons against both land and sea targets.
Designed for strike a range of military targets, such as command-and-control facilities, surface-to-air missile sites, parked aircraft and surface ships, the missile is currently mounted onboard Turkish Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-4E aircraft.
Currently under development in three versions by Lockheed, the F-35 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter aircraft designed to conduct an array of ground attack, reconnaissance and air defence missions with stealth capability.
Image: A SOM cruise missile mock-up being exhibited during MSPO 2014 at Kielce, Poland. Photo: courtesy of Noblemouse.