(Adds comment from Norwegian official)
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 16 (Reuters) - A potential collaboration between Australia and Norway could reduce the costs of integrating Kongsberg Gruppen’s Joint Strike Missile into Lockheed Martin’s new F-35 fighter jet, the Norwegian Air Force said on Wednesday.
“Australia has signalled interest in a collaborative effort on the integration portion (of the missile’s development),” Lieutenant Colonel Sigurd Fongen told reporters at the Farnborough Airshow.
“That would potentially save money, however that remains to be seen. We have to keep the discussions going with the Australians,” he said.
Costs for Joint Strike Missile (JSM), an air-launched development of Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile, currently stand at $1.38 billion after the Norwegian government announced in May that they had risen by 37 percent.
Fongen said the Norwegian and Australian delegations had not met at Farnborough this week but would make a decision in the next 6-12 months.
Endre Lunde, F-35 spokesman for Norway’s defence ministry, said Australian participation in the programme could lower the cost of integrating the new missile into the F-35, but Norway would pay the full cost of developing the missile. (Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Mark Potter and Keiron Henderson)