Super-lethal Joint Strike Missile (JSM) to be onboard F-35 soon
Whereas many are sulking over the burial of FGFA project of Russia with India, its direct rival F-35 is in the news for all the good reasons – even more tempting now as to why it should have opted over any other Fifth Generation Fighter Jet. Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)-C was tested one last time this 17th April and shall be integrated on F-35 C by next year.
But here we are talking about many superior capabilities than just JSOW that F-35 is poised for. The weapon in question is the Joint Strike Missile (JSM), slated for integration from 2021 onwards to complement the release of F-35’s Block 4 software. A source we accessed though pointed out that full integration of JSM will only happen around 2022 – 2024.
JSM has a range of 185 km if it has to follow a low-low-low (initial-middle-terminal phase) trajectory, but 555 km if it follows a high-high-low path, just because higher reaches offer lesser atmospheric resistance. By comparison, JSOW has figures of 22 km and 130 km respectively. So you can well imagine the kind of invincibility JSM will impart to Lightning II together with that AN/APG-82 radar.
That’s not all. JSM has a capacity for independent detection, recognition, and discrimination of targets at sea or on the coast. This is possible by the combination of an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker and an onboard target database. An advanced engagement planning system accurately engages targets using geographical information in the area. JSM is able to navigate by GPS, inertial, and terrain reference systems.
This missile has a two-way communications line so that the missile can communicate with the aircraft or other missiles in the air.
JSM is equipped with a data link, which is compatible with the Link 16 network and standard military equipment. The two-way networking data link allows the missile to exchange tactical data with aircraft after launch. It also ensures operators perform target updates, re-targeting, mission abort, and a bomb hit indication (BHI) during flight.
JSM is all made of composites that impart it stealth. It has multicore computers running an Integrity real-time operating system from Green Hills Software. Still to JSOW’s weight of 497kg, JSM has a weight of only 400kg and a length of 4 meters. Two JSMs will be able to snuggly fit in the internal bay of F-35. More can be carried on external pylons.
The high mobility JSM system is fitted with an accurate navigation system that supports flight close to terrain. Then it performs evasive maneuvers in its terminal phase to counter the world’s most capable defense systems.
JSM carries a programmable fuze warhead (125 kg HE fragmentation)
JSM is fast but subsonic which gives it pinpoint accuracy, maneuverability, and ability to be exploited at any time of flight. Indeed Joint Strike Missile is going to ensure that F-35 Lightning II lords over the world skies for at least the next few decades to come.