The Japanese Government has signed a US$4.5bn (A$6.25bn) contract with Boeing to upgrade 98 F-15J Eagle fighters for the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF).
The award comes after US State Dept approval of the possible sale was announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in October 2019. The contract is a direct commercial sale with Boeing, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to perform the bulk of the work in Japan.
Dubbed the F-15J ‘Super Interceptor’, the upgrade comprises the integration of a new AN/APG-82(V)1 AESA radar, advanced display core processor (ADCP II) mission system computers, the AN/ALQ-239 digital electronic warfare systems (DEWS), large screen cockpit displays, anti-spoof GPS navigation system, new radios, and likely structural refurbishments. The upgrade with bring the Japanese aircraft up to standard similar to that of the USAF’s planned F-15EX, albeit without the fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system.
The upgraded aircraft are designed to match new types being fielded by China in recent years, including J-10B, J-11, J-16, and J-20 fighters. JASDF F-15Js based on the southern island of Okinawa are frequently scrambled to intercept Chinese intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft – some of which have fighter escorts – around the crowded sea lanes and disputed Senkaku islands near Okinawa.
The JASDF took delivery of 171 F-15Js and 42 two-seat F-15DJs in the 1980s and 90s, all but 14 of which were manufactured in Japan by MHI under licence to Boeing.