March 12 (UPI) -- Kongsberg Gruppen will supply the first Joint Strike Missiles for Japan's fleet of F-35 fighter jets.
The Norwegian company's defense and aerospace division's missiles will expand overall capabilities of the F-35, according to a news release Monday. The company and Japan's government didn't disclose the value or volume of the contract.
The long-range sea- and land-target missile can be carried internally in Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, ensuring the aircraft's stealth capabilities.
"This is an important international breakthrough which demonstrates the importance of cooperation between Norwegian authorities, Norwegian Defense Research Establishment and Norwegian industry," Kongsberg CEO Geir Haoy said in a statement.
The JSM is the only fifth-generation cruise missile that will be integrated onto the F-35, in addition to its availability for integration on other aircraft, according to Raytheon, which produces them with Kongsberg.
Development of the JSM began in 2008 and successful validation test firings were completed in mid-2018. It was first chosen by the Royal Norwegian Navy for its new Fridtjof Nansen class frigates and Skjold class patrol boats.
The Norwegian government and the United States in 2012 agreed to finalize the JSM development and integration on F-35 aircraft.
The Australian government in 2017 signed a $17.2 million contract with Kongsberg to integrate an RF-seeker sensor into the missiles for F-35s. Sensors from BAE Systems allow the missile to locate its target using the target's electronic signature for guidance.
"The international F-35 user consortium is showing great interest in the JSM and Kongsberg is very proud to have been selected by Japan to provide the JSM for their F-35 fleet," said Eirik Lie, president of Kongsberg's defence and aerospace. "This is a major milestone for the JSM program, entering into the production phase."
Last June, the U.S. Navy selected Raytheon and Kongsberg to supply the Naval Strike Missile for its Over-the-Horizon program on littoral combat ships and future frigates.