New Internal F-35 Cruise Missile

Lockheed Martin and the Turkish company Roketsan, Inc. announced Wednesday they have partnered to develop a new long-range, air-breathing stealth cruise missile capable of being carried internally on the F-35 and externally on other aircraft. It is called the SOM-J, for Stand-Off Missile-Joint Strike Fighter. It will have GPS guidance, terrain-following capability when GPS is not available, and an imaging infrared terminal seeker, although a datalink has not yet been selected. Turkey has a requirement for such a weapon in 1,000-pound class with a range in excess of 100 nautical miles, Lockheed Martin Strike Systems Director Alan Jackson told Air Force Magazine in an interview. “We … believe there will also be some tangible benefits to the US,” Jackson said, noting that although there is no “stated, funded” requirement for such a weapon among US F-35 users, there’s “nothing on the books” filling such a niche besides “a glide weapon.” Much risk reduction has already been done by Rocketsan, which is flying the 2000-pound-class Stand-Off Missile (SOM) now on Turkish F-16 and F-4 fighters. Some technology from Lockheed’s JASSM cruise missile will also be incorporated. Roketsan will do final assembly for any Turkish military SOM-J production; Lockheed would do the same for any US purchases in its Troy, Ala., facility, Jackson said. He declined to provide work- or cost-sharing information, but development is to be complete by 2018, so the SOM-J can be integrated in the F-35 Block IV upgrade. Integration is to be complete by 2023.