Japan upgrades its F-15MJs to ‘super interceptors’ standard

WASHINGTON – Japan plans to upgrade its fleet from F-15MJ fighters to the JSI standard or “Japanese super interceptors” after the US company Boeing won a contract worth $ 471 million, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing a statement from the US State Department.

“The contract action provides for the design and development of an integrated suite of aircraft systems to support modification of the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15MJ aircraft and the development, test, and delivery of four Weapon System Trainers,” the US DoD statement said.

According to preliminary plans, the work on the renovation of Japanese fighter jets will be carried out in St. Louis, Missouri. The deadline is six years later – December 31, 2028.

Japan and the United States have negotiated a series of negotiations on the price of the contract and its inclusion in the fiscal year 2022 of the US defense budget. In the end, the two countries agreed, with Japan managing to reduce the value of the contract by nearly $ 8.6 million.

Tokyo and Washington have also been in talks to postpone the installation of anti-ship missiles and their cost.

JSI program

According to sources in Japan, the conversion of the F-15MJ to the “super interceptor” standard will be done through the integration of new avionics, a new electronic warfare system, and new weapons. The program covered the upgrade of a total of 98 Japanese F-15MJ fighters.

Japanese fighters will receive APG-82 (v) 1 Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] and Advanced Display Core Processor II [ADCP II] radar. Analysts in the United States say the new radars will provide the F-15MJ with new air-to-ground capabilities, as well as increase the aircraft’s ability to perform patrol missions.

Japan will also change air-to-air missiles to receive advanced AIM-120 [AMRAAM] medium-range missiles. The advanced missiles will enable the Japanese super interceptors to carry six more missiles, ie. of the 12, the Japanese F-15 will now carry 18 AIM-120 missiles.

Last but not least, Japan’s F-15MJ will receive a Link 16 data link, which is a NATO standard, and some aircraft will be equipped with a Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System.

Why does Japan need this update?

Unlike the United States, which has chosen to buy new F-15s, Japan has decided to invest in its 80s aircraft, which have so far successfully acted as interceptors against Chinese and Russian aircraft, which often enter Japanese airspace.

Tokyo hopes that after buying the F-35 Lightning and with its renewed F-15MJ to increase the combat capability of its air force in response to possible Russian or Chinese aggression. Japan plans to use its F-15MJ at least until 2030.

Japanese military experts also say that by upgrading the F-15MJ to super-interceptor level, Tokyo will increase naval patrol capabilities, thereby improving coordination with the country’s ground missile forces.

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