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DUBAI — In a major milestone, the Joint Strike Missile designed for the F-35 fighter jet successfully completed a flight test last week.

The missile was launched from an F-16 based out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, over the Utah Test and Training Range, according to a Nov. 11 statement from Norwegian defense company Kongsberg, which develops the JSM jointly with Raytheon. The successful test validated the maturity of the JSM, according to the release.

"This successful flight test further validates that JSM will be an ideal solution for the medium-range anti-ship and land attack mission," said Mike Jarrett, Raytheon Missile Systems vice president of Air Warfare Systems, according to the statement. "Raytheon and Kongsberg are working together to deliver this important, new capability to customers around the globe."

During the test, the Lockheed Martin F-16, the fighter jet the F-35 is intended to replace, performed a number of challenging flight maneuvers with the missile, the release states. The flight test program began in early 2015 with several captive carry tests on an F-16, and will conclude in 2017.

The medium-range, anti-ship and land-attack JSM is specifically designed to fit inside the Air Force conventional take-off and landing F-35’s weapons bay, but can also be modified to fit the Navy and Marine Corps variants. Norway is buying 52 F-35s, which will integrate the JSM.

Marking a crucial step forward for the international program, Norwegian F-35 pilots are about to begin training alongside their US and Australian counterparts at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Two Norwegian F-35s touched down at Luke on Tuesday, and later that day a Norwegian pilot flew the plane for the first time, according to a Lockheed Martin statement.

Email: lseligman@defensenews.com

Twitter: @laraseligman

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