The US Air Force’s 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California is continuing development of the Joint Strike Missile, intended to arm the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
A recent photo release from Edwards confirmed that a developmental test version of the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) was recently launched by a 416th Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) F-16C Fighting Falcon over the Utah Test and Training Range west of Salt Lake City, Utah. According to the caption, the F-16C was flown by a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, Maj Jameel Janjua.
That last facts highlights the international nature of the JSM program. USAF engineers and test pilots are working together with the Norwegian government and industry personnel in testing the weapon, which is designed to be carried in the F-35A’s internal weapons bay.
‘What we’re doing is conducting risk-mitigation testing with the F-16 before the JSM is integrated on the F-35’, said James Cook, 416th FLTS JSM program manager.
‘I think it’s awesome to be a part of the next-generational fighter while being in a legacy fighter combined test force. I’m excited to see the final outcome, which will be the culmination of all we’ve done here. To see it hit the target and explode the way it was planned to do’, Cook continued.
Reflecting the European heritage of the JSM, the current test program at the 416th is being run as part of the squadron’s European Participating Air Force Program, for which the squadron conducts tests for European F-16 customers when requested.
Development of the JSM was launched by Kongsberg in Norway, and the weapon is designed for both anti-surface warfare and naval fire support missions in open sea, littoral and over-land environments. The missile’s imaging infra-red seeker provides discrimination of land and non-targets via autonomous target recognition.
Raytheon, the US industry partner in the JSM program, describes the missile as ‘a long-distance anti-ship missile designed to take on high-value, heavily defended targets. The long stand-off range ensures that the aircraft and pilots remain out of harm’s way.’