Japan to upgrade 68 F-15J Eagles under JSI programme

by Kosuke Takahashi

An artist's impression of the JSI configuration for Japan's fleet of upgraded F-15J Eagle fighters. (Boeing)

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to upgrade 68 Boeing-Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle fighter aircraft through the Japan Super Interceptor (JSI) programme, it confirmed on 4 February.

The MoD also said that the estimated life-cycle costs of the 68 Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) aircraft over 30 years – including the upgrade – will amount to JPY646.5 billion (USD5.6 billion).

An MoD document said the upgrade includes the integration of long-range stand-off missiles, radars that can lock multiple targets simultaneously, an increased munitions payload, and enhanced electronic warfare capability.

According to Japan's 2021 defence white paper, the JASDF operated, as of March 2021, a total of 201 single-seat F-15Js and twin-seat F-15DJs. The MoD has previously upgraded the combat capabilities of 102 of these aircraft: 68 F-15Js and 34 F-15DJs.

The remaining 99 aircraft are to be replaced by 147 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter aircraft – 105 F-35As and 42 F-35Bs – during the coming decade.

An official from the MoD's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Janes

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Bulgaria signs LOA for follow-on F-16s

by Gareth Jennings

Having contracted an initial eight F-16s, Bulgaria has now signed an LOA for the same number again. (US Air Force)

Bulgaria has signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for additional Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft that were cleared for sale by the United States earlier in 2022.

The manufacturer announced the development on 28 November, noting that this second batch of F-16C/D Block 70s will extend Bulgaria's future fleet to 16 aircraft once deliveries are complete.

Bulgarian Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov announced on 21 September that a total of USD1.3 billion is to be spent on the eight additional F-16s to equip the Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) with a full squadron.

With F-16 deliveries expected to commence in 2027, the BuAF is seeking an interim fighter from either France (Dassault Mirage 2000 or Rafale) or Sweden (Saab Gripen) to bridge the gap with the retirement of the MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum' in 2023.

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Iranian navy upgrades frigate's air defences

by Jeremy Binnie

Sahand with the new rotating radar above and launcher in front of its bridge. (President Ebrahim Raisi)

The Iranian Jamaran-class frigate Sahand (74) has been upgraded with a new air-defence system, it was revealed when President Ebrahim Raisi boarded the ship during a visit to Jask on 27 November.

Photographs of the event showed the new rotating radar with a single phased-array antenna on top of the frigate's bridge. This is presumably a new target engagement radar as it still had its previous Plessey-type air search radar mounted higher on its mast.

A new rotating launcher has also been added in front of the bridge that was fitted with three of missile canisters normally used with the 15 Khordad and Talash ground-based air-defence systems. These could be for either Sayyad-2 or Sayyad-3 surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), with the latter having a claimed maximum range of 120 km.

When Sahand

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Carrier Ford returns as ship-class work advances

by Michael Fabey

Aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford successfully used its new launching systems for reliable sortie operations during the ship's first official deployment. (Michael Fabey)

US Navy (USN) aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) returned from its first official deployment in late November as shipbuilder HII acknowledged further work on other Ford-class carriers at its Newport News Shipbuilding yard.

Speaking to financial analysts in early November, Christopher Kastner, HII president and CEO, noted the recent keel-laying for the Ford-class Enterprise (CVN 80).

Besides, “CVN 79 [ John F ] Kennedy is moving further into the test programme and began testing of the electromagnetic launch system”, Kastner said during the 3 November call.

The Ford-class Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) was put to the test during CVN 78's first deployment.

Ford , flagship of the Gerald R Ford Carrier Strike Group (GRFCSG), returned on 26 November to Naval Station Norfolk, after successfully completing its inaugural deployment throughout the Atlantic while conducting exercises and port visits with allies and partners.


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The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) plans to upgrade 68 Boeing-Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle fighter air...

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