Boeing and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries colaborate on future upgrades to Japan’s F-15J fleet

On July 28, 2020, Boeing Corporation announced that it had signed an agreement with the Japanese corporation Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) under the American Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) system to upgrade 98 Boeing F-15J Eagle fighters of the Japanese Air Defense Forces into a variant Japan Super Interceptor (JSI).

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Boeing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries colaborate on future upgrades to Japans F 15J fleet 925 002 Artist’s rendering of upgraded Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-15JSI fighter aircraft. (Picture source: Boeing)

The contract is part of a larger $4.5 billion modernization program, announced by the U.S. Government in October 2019. The upgrades will introduce state-of-the-art electronic warfare and weapons. An all-new advanced cockpit system, running on the world’s most advanced mission computer, will deliver pilots enhanced situational awareness.

Under the agreement, Boeing will provide MHI with retrofit drawings, ground support equipment and technical publications for the upgrade of the first two F-15J aircraft to the Japan Super Interceptor configuration.

This DCS contract lays the foundation of the modernization program. MHI will develop the detailed modification plan for the jets and prepare the facilities and workforce for the induction and upgrade of up to 98 aircraft beginning in 2022.

The Japanese Air Force currently has 156 single-seat F-15Js and 45 two-seat F-15DJs, which were built by MHI under license from 1980 to 2000. Only 98 single-seat F-15J aircraft, which have previously been upgraded according to the 1st and 2nd stages of the J-MSIP (Japan-Multi-Stage Improvement Program) program, are subject to upgrades to the Japanese Super Interceptor (JSI) variant.

Boeing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries colaborate on future upgrades to Japans F 15J fleet 925 001 A Japanese Air Self Defense Forces F-15's fly alongside a U.S. Air Force KC-135 from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, Kadena Air Base, during air refuelling training July 30. (Picture source: U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Angelique Perez)