The Norwegian F-35 Decision: Understanding the Impact of Weapons Integration
6/21/12: by Robbin Laird
A key element of the F-35 decision by Norway was the acceptance of the integration of a new Kongsberg missile onto the F-35 itself.
Through the development of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), the Norwegian Armed Forces has established KONGSBERG and other Norwegian industry in the top tier as a supplier of long-range, precision strike missiles that will meet military requirements in a 20 to 30-year perspective.
“It is of great importance that the US authorities have confirmed their support for the integration of the JSM on the F-35. In doing so, the operational needs of the Norwegian Armed Forces and international partners will be met. Furthermore, this will be an important contribution to the industrial content of the F-35 procurement. JSM is the world leader in its category and further strengthens the F-35′s operational capacity”, states Walter Qvam, CEO of KONGSBERG.
“KONGSBERG has involved a number of Norwegian subcontractors in the first phases of the JSM development. Today’s decision for the integration of JSM on F-35 open up new opportunities for a long-term Norwegian industrial success that may be worth as much as NOK 25 billion. In future full-scale production, the JSM programme could translate into 450 jobs at KONGSBERG and significant assignments for more than 100 Norwegian subcontractors for several decades”, comments Harald Ånnestad, president of Kongsberg Defence Systems.
As part of the JSM development program, new operational capabilities will be developed and tested for subsequent upgrading of KONGSBERG’s Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The NSM is now in production for the Armed Forces of Poland and Norway.
Because many people do not understand the approach to the weaponization of the F-35 moving forward they might not understand the true impact of this development.
Historically, a Norwegian selection of an aircraft and a decision to integrate a missile on that aircraft would be largely for Norway or whoever else chose that aircraft and the series variant of that aircraft. This would not likely be a large natural market.
With the F-35 the situation is totally different. The F-35A to be purchased by Norway has the same software as every other global F-35, and so integration on the Norwegian F-35 provides an instant global marketplace for Kongsberg. And the international team marketing the aircraft – is de facto – working for Kongsberg as well.
It is not hard therefore to understand why companies would like their weapons on this plane, notably as new 21st century weapons are developed.
According to Kongsberg:
The Naval Strike Missile (NSM) and the Joint Strike Missile (JSM) are autonomous, long-range, precision missiles designed to engage high-value, well-defended targets at sea and ashore. The NSM can be launched from vessels or coastal systems while the JSM was specifically designed to be air launched.
It is very likely, for example, that Asian partners in the F-35 will find this capability to be extremely interesting and important. And so Kongsberg’s global reach is embedded in the global reach of the F-35 itself.
For a look at the F-35 and weapons development see