26 October, 2015 By James Drew – FG
Washington DC - Turkish missile maker Roketsan is hoping to fly its SOM-J cruise missile for the first time “possibly late next year” ahead of planned integration with the F-16 Block 40 by 2018 and the Lockheed Martin F-35 sometime later.
SOM-J is essentially a scaled-down version of Roketsan’s SOM (stand off missile), and sized for internal carriage on the F-35. SOM is already integrated with Turkey’s F-16 Block 40 and F-4E fighter jets, whereas the semi-armour-piercing SOM-J will become the nation’s cruise missile of choice once Ankara introduces the low-observable F-35 into its combat force. One company official, who spoke to Flightglobal at a recent US Army conference in Washington but declined to be named, says most of the SOM subsystems including the multi-mode seeker have already been tested and qualified and the new development effort its mostly about adapting the missile for internal carriage on the F-35, such as changing the outer mould line. He says the first flight could happen as soon as late 2016, and Turkey has requested integration with the F-35 as part of the planned Block 4.2 modernisation package. “We rely on our experience and our qualification results we already have with the existing system,” he says. “This is based on the existing design.”