The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan for the modernisation and upgrade of up to 98 Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle air superiority fighters, under an effort that will produce Japanese Super Interceptors (JSI).
Approval of the potential sale, worth $4.5 billion, was announced on October 29 in a media release from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). Following this announcement, the DSCA notified the US Congress, which will ultimately decide if it goes ahead.
The DSCA states that this package would upgrade up to 98 of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF's) F-15Js to a Japanese Super Interceptor configuration. The Japanese government has requested 116 Boeing Advanced Display Core Processor II (ADCP II) mission system computers, 103 Raytheon APG-82(V)1 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars and 101 BAE Systems ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare Systems (DEWS). Also included are training and technical support, system and munition integration, Selective Availability Anti-spoofing Modules (SAASM), Rockwell Collins AN/ARC-210 radios, Joint Mission Planning Systems (JMPS) and associated spares.
In the media release, the DSCA stated: "This proposed sale will provide Japan a critical air defence capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and US personnel stationed there. Modernised F-15J assets will better enable Japan to respond to airborne threats and defend its airspace. Japan will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces."
The DSCA also noted that Boeing will be the prime contractor through this potential Foreign Military Sale. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – the company which licence-built the F-15J for Japan – will be the prime contractor through the direct commercial sale, with Boeing being sub-contracted to support the integration process for both sides.
The JASDF has operated the Mitsubishi F-15 Eagle since 1981, with around 155 single-seat F-15J interceptor variants and roughly 45 F-15DJ twin-seat conversion trainer variants in service. The upgrade will cover roughly two thirds of the JASDF's F-15J fleet, with the F-15DJ not being earmarked for the upgrade. The air arm's Eagle force is spread over Japan, operating from air bases at Chitose, Gifu, Komatsu, Naha and Nyutabaru.