The 416th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards AFB, Calif., is leading the testing of the F-35’s Joint Strike Missile for various international partner nations, according to a press release. The JSM, which makes use of stealth technology and can be used against targets at sea or on land, is being tested on F-16s first. Norway and Australia are among the nations participating in the testing. “What we’re doing is conducting risk-mitigation testing with the F-16 before the JSM is integrated on the F-35,” said James Cook, the 416th FLTS JSM program manager, according to the release. The team conducts live missile tests over the Utah Test and Training Range, and the testing work with foreign partners is part of the squadron’s European Participating Air Force Program. (See also: Joint Strike Missile’s First Shot.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.