Japan is set to provide its existing F-15 fighters with Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities besides buying additional F-35 stealth jets possessing this ability to use focused energy to defeat adversary’s electronics, this year.
In its defense budget for 2020 published on March 30, the Japan Ministry of Defense revealed its plan to modernize F-15 jets for ¥39 billion ($362.13 million). The upgrade includes integration of stand-off missiles, increase ammunition payload, and improve EW capabilities of the aircraft.
In October 2019, the US State Department approved for Boeing and Mitsubishi to upgrade 98 Japanese F-15 jets to a Japanese Super Interceptor (JSI) configuration for $4.5 billion. The planes would receive the Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Advanced Display Core Processor II Mission System Computers, and ALQ-239 Digital EW System suites, in addition to training, support and testing equipment, and other logistical elements.
Tokyo also wants to buy 3 F-35As and 6 F-35B short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) jets with superior “electronic protection capability” for ¥28.1 billion ($260.17 million) and ¥79.3 billion ($734 million) respectively. It has earmarked an additional ¥37.4 billion ($345.125 million) to include maintenance and equipment costs. The Japanese Self Defense Force (JSDF) currently has around 12 F-35A jets in service. Last April, one of the fighters crashed into the Pacific during a routine anti-fighter combat training with three other F-35A jets.
Partial refurbishment of “Izumo” helicopter destroyer is included to enable takeoff and landing by F-35Bs, the ministry said.