Japan F-15J Upgrade Request OK’d by U.S. State Department

A notification of approval by the U.S. State Department for a government-to-government foreign military sales (FMS) request by Japan for the upgrade by Boeing of 98 of its F-15J fighters to Japanese Super Interceptor (JSI) configuration was sent to Congress on October 29, 2019.

The JSI configuration upgrade involves APG-82(v)1 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars (the sale involves 103 such units, including five spares); 116 Advanced Display Core Processor II (ADCP II) Mission System Computers (including 18 spares); and 101 ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare Systems (DEWS), including three spares;  plus various other elements, including Joint Mission Planning Systems. According to the notification, the estimated cost for the entire upgrade package is $4.5 billion.

The twin-engine, all-weather F-15J Eagles are used in the interceptor role and currently serve as the Japan Air Self Defense Force’s (JASDF) principal air superiority fighter. This fleet began entering JASDF service in 1981.

Japan plans to modernize a large portion of its fleet of over 150 F-15Js (plus another 50 two-seat F-15DJ Eagles, also used for training purposes) to maintain a level of air superiority over China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) forces. The units not upgraded will be retired, along with the legacy F-4EJ Phantoms, in favor of incoming F-35A and B units. Under the Japanese government’s Midterm Defense Plan 2019-2023, at least 20 F-15s were slated for upgrade, with the scope of the near-term upgrade program now widening and accelerating considerably.

Japanese Air Self Defense Forces F-15. Image – Angelique Perez, U.S. Air Force [CC BY-SA 4.0]

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s International Military Markets Group Leader. Specializing in history and political science with a background in finance and economics, Dan provides insight into the military markets of both the Europe and the Asia, Australia and Pacific Rim regions. Dan's work has been cited in Aerospace and Defense News, Aerotech News and Review, Defense Talk, Global Defense Review, and Small Wars Journal, among others, and by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In addition, Dan has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The National, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. He has also contributed commentary to Defense News and appeared as a guest on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line. As editor of International Military Markets, Europe and International Military Markets, Asia, Australia & Pacific Rim, Dan brings a wealth of expertise on the political and economic forces shaping these markets.

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