The Japanese Ministry of Defense has reached an agreement with the US to upgrade the country’s fleet of F-15 fighters, state-owned public broadcaster NHK revealed.
Citing the ministry, the outlet reported that it negotiated the deal at 397 billion yen ($3.5 billion), significantly reducing the 552 billion yen ($4.85 billion) the US requested last year. Japan is now negotiating to lower the repair cost, quoted at 20 percent above the initial estimate of 73 billion yen ($641 million).
According to the broadcaster, the cost rose as the manufacturer had to open a new production line, forcing Japan to postpone the inclusion of anti-ship missiles in the package. However, the Japanese hope to reduce the cost further as it’s still higher than the initially estimated 324 billion yen ($2.84 billion).
According to the deal, 98 F-15J fighters of the Japan Air Self Defense Force will be upgraded to the F-15 JSI (Japan Super Interceptor) standard.
According to Forbes, the F-15J is Boeing’s F-15Cs without land attack capability. The aircraft is a 60s model license-built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the country.
The outlet added that the upgrade is expected to add Lockheed Martin’s LMT AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile to the aircraft and a “new advanced cockpit system with an advanced mission computer, new radar, electronic warfare capabilities and a locally-sourced datalink system that is interoperable with US data sharing systems.”