Military Aviation

Boeing’s rendering shows upgraded JASDF F-15J armed with JASSM

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

Boeing and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) recently signed a Direct Commercial Sale agreement to support upgrades to Japan’s F-15J fleet.

The contract is part of a larger $4.5 billion modernization program, announced by the U.S. Government in October 2019. Named F-15JSI (Japanese Super Interceptor), the upgrade will introduce state-of-the-art electronic warfare and weapons. 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 configuration.

Noteworthy, as noted by Alert 5.com, the rendering by Boeing shown in this post features the jet carrying a JASSM or LRASM cruise missile on station 5 on the centerline. The aircraft is believed to be armed with the AAM-4 air-to-air missiles as well. The medium-range active radar homing is made by Mitsubishi.

As we have already reported, Japan started to exploring the possibility of modifying the F-15J all-weather air superiority fighter to give it a ground strike capability by means of the JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range) cruise missile in 2018.

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Thanks to JASSM-ER standoff capabilities, Japan would be able to attack North Korea without approaching the country directly from the airspace over the Sea of Japan.

Using a more efficient engine and larger fuel volume in an airframe with the same external dimensions as the JASSM, the JASSM-ER features a range of over 575 miles (925 km) as compared to the JASSM’s range of about 230 miles (370 km).

Boeing has partnered with MHI in the defense arena since the 1950s. MHI produced under license the current Japan 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.

“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.”

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.

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Photo credit: Boeing

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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