JSM in the internal or external stations of the Japanese F-35s

TOKYO, JAPAN — The American fighter F-35 with a key role in guarding the Asian Pacific will be armed with a new anti-ship missile. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force [JASDF] will mount the Norwegian Joint Strike Missile [JSM] on its F-35s in either the external or internal stations.

JSM in the internal or external suspension of the Japanese F-35s
Photo by Strak Jegan

The JSM is a rocket produced by the Norwegian company Kongsberg. Information about such integration was known years ago when Japan agreed to order this type of missile. Tokyo signed a contract to purchase JSM in two stages – in 2019 and in 2020. It is known that Japan will pay about $42 million for this purchase. On March 16th, it was officially confirmed that JSM deliveries will begin this year.

The JASDF currently flies 34 F-35 fighters. However, Tokyo ordered 123 fighters, so Lockheed Martin has more deliveries to the Asian country. F-35 operators generally avoid using the outstations. This will disrupt the aircraft’s stealth capabilities. The F-35 has four internal and six external stations. The total payload of the external stations, which are available from both wings of the F-35, is 15,000 pounds [6,800 kg]. The four internal stations can handle a payload of up to 5,700 pounds [2,600 kg].

The use of the Norwegian JSM as part of the armament of the F-35 is not news. In principle, it is this anti-ship missile that is included in the basic F-35 model. In fact, it is the only anti-ship missile in the stealth fighter’s standard armament. The F-35A first fired the Norwegian anti-ship missile in April 2021, and both tests were successful. Actually, this was the beginning of the integration of this rocket.

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Japan will definitely increase the combat capability of its F-35s. In the region, only Australia’s F-35 fleet is currently more capable than Japan’s. We remind you that only a week or two ago it was announced that it was the “kangaroos” that had achieved the full final operational readiness of their fighters. This stage in the life of an F-35 is called “ready to kill” in jargon.

There is information among Japanese military experts that the JSM and its integration into the F-35 is just the beginning. I.e. it is claimed that Japan will attempt to integrate the Norwegian cruise missile into its older F-15J aircraft. Japan is currently upgrading the F-15J.

The Norwegian JSM is the aviation version of the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile [NSM]. The JSM weighs 416 kg [917 lb] and carries a blast-fragmentation warhead. The warhead weighs up to 120 kg. The detonation mechanism is of the time delay, and impact type. The rocket develops a speed of Mach 0.9 provided by a single Williams International F‐415 small turbofan engine.

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The JSM has a different range of operational range – between 185 km and 550 km depending on whether it is fired hi-hi-lo or lo-lo-lo. The missile is used to destroy ground targets and ships.

The Norwegian missile was long awaited by the Japanese defense. However, the global epidemic of the corona virus has also affected this production and delivery. In reality, Tokyo was scheduled to receive the JSM in 2021. As many other international shipments around the world were delayed, so was this one. In reality, this missile is new to Japanese fighters, as they have not been armed with it until now.


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