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Lockheed, Roketsan team up to produce new cruise missile for F-35

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The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. A Lockheed photo

ANKARA (BNS): US defence major Lockheed Martin has partnered with Turkey's missile maker Roketsan to jointly produce the Turkish SOM-J air-to-surface cruise missile system for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The two companies signed an agreement at the Turkish capital Ankara on October 22 in this regard.

The SOM is "an autonomous, long-range, low-observable, all-weather, precision air-to-surface cruise missile. The SOM-J variant is tailored for internal carriage on the F-35 aircraft," Lockheed Martin said.

The two companies will jointly develop, produce, market and support SOM-J for internal carriage on the F-35 aircraft or external carriage on other aircraft.

"SOM-J will provide the F-35 and other aircraft an exceptional capability to meet the most challenging mission requirements. We look forward to combining the skills and know-how of our two great companies to produce a world-class system to meet customers' expanding needs for long-range, survivable cruise missile technology," Lockheed's Missiles and Fire Control Executive Vice President Rick Edwards said.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.

Lockheed Martin is developing the warplane with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

The F-35 is intended to replace a wide range of existing fighter, strike, and ground attack aircraft for the nine partnering nations in the programme -- the US, UK, Italy, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Turkey.

The other cruise missile system which is set to equip the JSF is the Norwegian defence major Kongsberg-produced Joint Strike Missile (JSM).

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