Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-15J
Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-15J

Boeing, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Partner on Upgrades to F-15J Japan Super Interceptor Fleet

Boeing and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) recently signed a Direct Commercial Sale agreement to support upgrades to Japan’s F-15J fleet. An all-new advanced cockpit system, running on the world’s most advanced mission computer, will deliver pilots enhanced situational awareness. Under the agreement, Boeing will provide MHI with retrofit drawings, ground support equipment and technical publications for the upgrade of the first two F-15J aircraft to the Japan Super Interceptor (JSI) configuration. In October 2019 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency approved a possible sale to Japan of up to 103 APG-82(v)1 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars, 116 Advanced Display Core Processor II Mission System Computers and 101 AN/ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare Systems for the upgrade of 98 F-15Js to a JSI configuration for an estimated cost of $4.5 billion.

“Through this agreement, Boeing is honored to further our long-standing tradition of support for Japan’s Ministry of Defense, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and MHI,” said Will Shaffer, Boeing Japan President. “These upgrades will deliver critical capability for national and collective self-defense, in which the F-15J plays a key role. At the same time, they will provide MHI and our partners in Japan’s aerospace defense industry with an opportunity to enhance their own extensive engineering capabilities.”

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Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-15J
Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) pilots race to two Mitsubishi F-15J Eagles during a scramble demonstration at Chitose Air Base, Japan. . The F-15Js offer the JASDF a twin-engine, all-weather air superiority fighter based on the U.S. Air Force’s McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

Boeing has partnered with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the defense arena since the 1950s. MHI produced under license the current Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-15J fleet of over 200 aircraft between 1980 and 2000, and will serve as prime contractor for the upgrade. Sojitz Corporation, a trading company that works with Boeing’s team in Japan, will support this effort. This DCS contract lays the foundation of the modernization program. MHI will develop the detailed modification plan for the jets and prepare the facilities and workforce for the induction and upgrade of up to 98 aircraft beginning in 2022.

The Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather air superiority fighter based on the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle in use by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). The F-15J was produced under license by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The subsequent F-15DJ and F-15J Kai variants were also produced. Japan is the largest customer of the F-15 Eagle outside the United States. In addition to combat, F-15DJ roles include training. F-15J/DJs are identical to F-15C/Ds aside from the ECM, radar warning system, and nuclear equipment. The engine is the Pratt & Whitney F100 turbofan, produced under license by IHI Corporation.

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