A squadron from the US Air Force’s (USAF) Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) has completed a large phase of testing for Norway’s Joint Strike Missile (JSM) programme.
The test was carried out by USAF engineers and test pilots, in addition to Norwegian Government and industry personnel.
The JSM is Norway’s advanced anti-surface warfare missile developed for the new F-35A Lighting II fighter jets. Norway serves as a partner nation for the development of the fifth-generation joint strike fighter.
To be equipped in the aircraft’s internal weapons bay, the JSM has been designed to be used against both sea and land-based targets.
Initially, the missile was trialled at Edwards AFB on the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 416th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) before integration testing was carried out on the F-35A jets.
416th FLTS JSM project engineer Collin Drake said: “The weapons ranges needed simply don’t exist in Norway.
“So they were able to come here and utilise the Edwards [AFB] airspace and ground test facilities for the captive carriage flight and ground testing. The 416th FLTS has a long and storied history of testing systems with our foreign partners, especially with Norway.”
Since the beginning of its development programme at Edwards AFB in 2015, the new missile system underwent a series of tests such as ground testing, captive carriage testing and live-drop testing.
This demonstrated the capability of the weapon system to safely release from the fighter jet and carry out its autonomous functions effectively and efficiently.
Testing at Edwards AFB included several variants of the JSM that were upgraded in complexity and capability throughout the course of the programme.
Missile variants were inert until the final flight test events were conducted when it was capable of successfully hitting a target with full mission systems software and guidance.
In addition, the scope of the test programme included several modifications and updates to the weapon’s software and hardware.
All live releases of the missile were carried out at the US Department of Defense’s Utah Test and Training Range.
Norway will now integrate the JSM on to the F-35 and perform other weapons and integration testing.