Raytheon's AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) C-1 has begun operational testing with the U.S. Navy on F/A-18 Super Hornet and is expected to be fielded to the fleet in 2016. The C-1 is the latest iteration of a family of missiles that has been in production since 1999, and adds Link 16 and a maritime moving-target capability to the precursor versions. The JSOW C has also successfully demonstrated a cave-defeat capability.

“In theory you now can launch a JSOW C-1 from an aircraft platform, and after the weapon's launched we can now send in-flight target updates so the weapon can change direction, or we can retarget it while in flight,” says Raytheon's JSOW program director Celeste Mohr.

Integrated testing for the F/A-18 was completed in January, with a seven-shot program.

“We had seven successful flights, and they all met their test objectives,” Mohr says. “They were against a variety of moving maritime targets and stationary land targets.”

Integration is funded for JSOW C-1 on the F-35A and C, while external integration on F-35B is part of the aircraft's Block 4 release. Raytheon staffers are restricted in what they can say about potential export opportunities for the C-1, but foreign sales have already been agreed. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed last year that Raytheon was under contract with Saudi Arabia to undertake preparatory work, including drawings, qualification and validation, for the C-1 model of the missile.

“Where you're going to look for the JSOW capability is where you have to keep your aircraft at standoff ranges and can't get close enough to deploy direct-attack weapons,” says Mohr. “When our coalition partners are looking at those sophisticated threats, and are also looking for a weapon that's affordable, that's where we think we fit in a strong niche for international sales and coalition operations.”