Lockheed Martin and Turkish company Roketsan signed on the 16th of September a contract to cooperatively develop the SOM-J missile for integration into the F-35 internal weapons bay. SOM-J is a new generation air-to-surface standoff cruise missile.
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,” said Frank St. John, vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
“This contract signing, and subsequent approval of the Technical Assistance Agreement, continues our strong relationship with Lockheed Martin,” said Emin Alpman, chairman of the board at Roketsan. “Offering SOM-J to the international F-35 marketplace will bring critical business to Turkey and provide an important capability to allied nations.”
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.
Lockheed Martin has been an industrial partner of Turkey since 1984 and is committed to continued partnerships with Turkish industry to offer affordable defense systems.