Lockheed Martin and Turkish Roketsan have signed a contract to jointly develop SOM-J air-to-surface cruise missile for integration into the F-35 internal weapons bay.
The contract enables the companies to move forward with their Technical Assistance Agreement, making the SOM-J missile available to international customers. SOM-J integration into the F-35 is scheduled for Block 4. Early live flight testing will be conducted on Turkish F-16s.
"SOM-J integration on the F-35 will enable pilots to engage targets from long ranges while maintaining the aircraft's critical stealth capabilities," Frank St. John, vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control said Wednesday.
SOM missile development began in 2006 and entered service with the Turkish Air Force in 2011. SOM-J is a smaller version of the subsonic SOM missile, which employs a 500-pound warhead and has a required range of more than 100 nautical miles. The SOM-J missile uses Global Positioning System as its primary guidance and is aided by inertial, terrain-referenced and image-based navigation systems, as well as an imaging infrared seeker.