By Bijan Razzaghi
The AGM-154 JSOW has been successfully tested on the F-35C Lightning II. The JSOW short for Joint Stand of Munition is the primary standoff weapon for US fighters. The AGM-154 has an operational range of 70 miles and has been used successfully to attack ground targets in denied airspace by non stealth platforms. The F-35s adoption of the JSOW is the first use of the weapon on a stealth fighter improving the aircrafts lethality.
F-35Cs will now able to attack targets deep within enemy territory without the need to refuel as the JSOWS range effectively increases the F-35s effective kill range. For example an F-35 can fly 600 miles into enemy territory without refueling than engage a target another 60 miles away, all while remaining undetected. This greatly improves the capabilities of US naval air power in contested airspace.
Currently the F-35A and B variants are operational with the US Air Force and Marine Corp, the F-35C will soon become operational later this year. The F-35C will operate from the Nimitz and Ford class carriers.