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 a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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