The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to upgrade 68 Boeing-Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle fighter aircraft through the Japan Super Interceptor (JSI) programme, it confirmed on 4 February. The Japanese government has included the modernization of Japan’s F-15 fleet into the so-called F-15JSI (Japan Super Interceptor) variant into the fiscal year 2022 budget.
The Mitsubishi F-15J, a homegrown version of the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, is the main interceptor of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force.
The MoD also said that the estimated life-cycle costs of the 68 Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) aircraft over 30 years – including the upgrade – will amount to $5.6 billion.
An MoD document said the upgrade includes the integration of long-range stand-off missiles, radars that can lock multiple targets simultaneously, an increased munitions payload, and enhanced electronic warfare capability.
According to Japan’s 2021 defence white paper, the JASDF operated, as of March 2021, a total of 201 single-seat F-15Js and twin-seat F-15DJs. The MoD has previously upgraded the combat capabilities of 102 of these aircraft: 68 F-15Js and 34 F-15DJs.
The remaining 99 aircraft are to be replaced by 147 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter aircraft – 105 F-35As and 42 F-35Bs – during the coming decade.
DoD said in a press statement: “The contract action provides for the design and development of an integrated suite of aircraft systems to support modification of the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15MJ aircraft and the development, test, and delivery of four Weapon System Trainers.”
The contract will see 70 fighters receive extensive upgrades under Japan’s Super Interceptor programme.
Initially, Japan intended to upgrade 98 airframes under the programme. However, the plan was dropped to save costs and also to integrate AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) with the upgraded F-15.
Work will be executed at the company’s Missouri facility and is expected to be completed by December 2028. The contract involves 100% foreign military sales to Japan.
US Air Force’s Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio is the contracting activity for the latest contract.
Developed by Boeing, F-15J aircraft is commonly referred to as ‘Eagle’. It is a supersonic fighter jet that feature all-weather air superiority for multi-role missions.
In July 2020, Boeing signed direct commercial sale (DCS) agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the upgrade of JASDF’s ageing fleet of Mitsubishi F-15J.
In October 2019, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a potential sale of F-15J aircraft upgrades for Japan.
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