Japan to upgrade 68 F-15J Eagle fighter aircraft

The Japanese MoD plans to upgrade 68 Boeing-Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle fighter aircraft via the Japan Super Interceptor (JSI) programme.

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Japan to upgrade 68 F 15J Eagle fighter aircraft 01 Mitsubishi F-15J taking off at the Naha Air Show in 2018 (Picture source: Balon Greyjoy)

The JSI aims to improve the Japanese F-15J fleet for the next 30 years and this, for an amount of 5.6 billion dollars. On Jan. 4, Boeing was awarded a $471.313 million JSI contract to develop and produce an integrated suite of systems to support the development and upgrade of Japan's F-15Js. This contract also includes the development, testing and delivery of four weapon system simulators. The contract will be entirely carried out in Saint-Louis (Missouri, United States) and must be completed by December 31, 2028.

In July 2019, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in charge of transfers of American equipment to other countries announced the authorization of the Department of Defense for the improvement of 98 F-15Js for an amount of 4.5 billion dollars:

The Government of Japan has requested the upgrade of up to ninety-eight (98) F-15J aircraft to a Japanese Super Interceptor (JSI) configuration consisting of up to one hundred three (103) APG-82(v)1 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar (includes 5 spares); one hundred sixteen (116) Advanced Display Core Processor II (ADCP II) Mission System Computer (includes 18 spares); and one hundred one (101) ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS) (includes 3 spares). Also included are Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) with software, training and support; Selective Availability Anti-spoofing Module (SAASM); ARC-210 radio, aircraft and munition integration and test support; ground training devices (including flight and maintenance simulators); support and test equipment; software delivery and support; spare and repair parts; communications equipment; facilities and construction support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical and logistics support services; studies and surveys; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

In January 2022, Tokyo decided to increase the budget to $5.6 billion while decreasing the number of aircraft to 68 F-15Js. Japan has also abandoned the ability to carry the AMG-158C LRASM anti-ship cruise missile but has however resumed the carrying capacity of the AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface cruise missile which it had previously abandoned. The program also seeks to increase the number of missiles on each aircraft (8 missiles instead of 4).

The Japanese Air Self-Defense Force seeks to have a fleet of modernized F-15J combat aircraft, F-35 (105 F-35A and 42 F-35B) and finally, the future stealth fighter Japanese.