Japan is considering scrapping its plan to procure AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) with standoff capabilities for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s Mitsubishi F-15JSI fighter jets. The plan to change its policy is due to ballooning costs, who declined to be named as a formal decision has not yet been made. The acquisition of the LRASM, is aimed at giving the JASDF the capability to strike from outside an enemy’s threat range. At a time of increasing assertiveness by China around Japanese territories, the missiles are necessary for boosting Japan’s defense.
In late 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 “Japanese Super Interceptor” (JSI) configuration for an estimated cost of $4.5 billion. For the upgrade to enable the fighters to carry the LRASM, the initial cost presented by the U.S. side has increased to nearly $2.2 billion.
Kyodo News reported that by forgoing the acquisition, the Japan Ministry of Defense has estimated it will save hundred million of dollar. In the fiscal 2021 budget, the government did not include spending on upgrading the fighter jets, believing it necessary to prioritize negotiations with the U.S. side to reduce costs. the government will also consider reducing from 70 the number of the ASDF’s fleet of F-15 aircraft it is planning to upgrade. The same article suggests that the AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) will be retained.
The AGM-158 JASSM (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile) is a low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile developed by Lockheed Martin for the United States Armed Forces. The AGM-158C LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) is based on the AGM-158B JASSM-ER, but incorporates a multi-mode passive RF, a new weapon data-link and altimeter, and an uprated power system. It can be directed to attack enemy ships by its launch platform, receive updates via its datalink, or use onboard sensors to find its target.