Japanese ‘Super Eagle’ upgrade work moves ahead

JASDF’s fleet of F-15J interceptors.

A comprehensive effort to modernise and upgrade the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF)’s fleet of F-15J interceptors has progressed following a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) agreement signed between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Boeing to support upgrades to the aircraft.

Over 200 single-seat F-15Js and two-seat F-15DJs are believed to have been built by MHI under license from Boeing between 1980 and 2000.

Modernisation Programme

The DCS agreement, which was announced by Boeing on 28 July, lays the groundwork for the wider US$4.5 billion modernisation programme for up to 98 F-15J/DJs into the Japanese Super Interceptor (JSI) configuration approved by the US State Department under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mechanism in October 2019.

“Sojitz Corporation, a trading company that works with Boeing’s team in Japan, will support this effort,” Boeing said in its statement, adding that it will provide MHI with retrofit drawings, technical publications, and ground support equipment for the upgrade of the first two F-15J aircraft to the F-15JSI configuration.

In contrast, MHI will be responsible for developing detailed modification plans and putting in place the necessary infrastructure and skilled workforce for upgrade work to commence in 2022.

The upgrades will introduce state-of-the-art electronic warfare and weapons,” Boeing stated. “An all-new advanced cockpit system, running on the world’s most advanced mission computer, will deliver pilots enhanced situational awareness.”

F-15J Configuration

The F-15JSI configuration will also feature the Raytheon AN/APG-82(V)1 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, the Honeywell Advanced Display Core Processor II (ADCP II) mission computer, and the BAE Systems AN/ ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare System (DEWS). Other enhancements include new aircraft radios and anti-spoofing GPS systems.

Many of these upgrades are comparable to those developed under Boeing’s Advanced Eagle programme, which has resulted in Qatar’s F-15QA, Saudi Arabia’s F-15SA, and the United States’ upcoming F-15EX platforms.

by Jr Ng