Air Force orders Kongsberg JSM air-launched missile with imaging infrared seeker and two-way communications

June 4, 2024
Air Force orders Kongsberg JSM air-launched missile with imaging infrared seeker and two-way communications

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – U.S. Air Force air-launched weapons experts are making their first production order of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), an air-launched missile intended for the Lockheed Martin F-35 jet fighter-bomber for ground-attack missions on high-priority targets.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., announced a $141 million contract Friday to Kongsberg Gruppen in Kongsberg, Norway, for lot 1 of JSM full-rate production weapons.

JSM is a derivative of the Raytheon-Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM), which has an imaging infrared seeker, an onboard target database, and navigates by Global Positioning System (GPS), inertial sensors, and terrain-reference systems.

This contract includes JSM all up rounds, containers, and test equipment. Compared to the NSM, the Joint Strike Missile is shaped to fit in F-35 internal weapons bay, and has a longer range tan the NSM, which experts estimate at about 150 nautical miles.

Related: Raytheon to build StormBreaker missiles with tri-mode seekers, millimeter-wave radar, and infrared homing

JSM has an option for ground strike and a two-way communications line, so that the missile can communicate with its launcher, or with other missiles in the air. This missile will be integrated with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Studies have shown that the F-35 would be able to carry two of these in its internal bays, while four additional missiles could be carried externally.

The Naval Strike Missile, from which the JSM has evolved, is a fifth-generation long-range, precision-strike missile that offers strike capability against heavily defended land and sea targets. NSM is a modernized version of the Norwegian Penguin anti-ship missile.

The NSM can detect, recognize, and discriminate among targets independently, and is designed to strike enemy ships at or near the water line to inflict maximum structural damage. Raytheon is building the NSM in partnership with Kongsberg.

Related: Lockheed Martin starts building early versions of land-based PrSM precision missile with multi-mode guidance

The NSM also is the armament of the RTX Raytheon Navy Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System (NMESIS), which will provide Marine Corps High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) battalions with anti-ship missiles.

In addition to NMESIS, the NSM is to equip the littoral combat ship and FFG(X) future frigate with stand-off surface-to-surface weapons capability.

On this contract Kongsberg will do the work in Kongsberg, Norway, and should be finished by August 2026. For more information contact Kongsberg online at, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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