The Japanese government has included the modernization of Japan’s F-15 fleet into the so-called F-15JSI (Japan Super Interceptor) variant into the fiscal year 2022 budget. 

The program came to a halt in 2020 amid rising costs, partly due to the need for a new production line, and a switch to a newer electronic warfare system. Following negotiations with the United States, the price was eventually reduced by $8 million. It is now set to $3.5 billion, still 1.2 times the initial estimate according to NHK.

To cut costs, Japan had to temporarily forgo the integration of Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM). After a two-year pause, the upgrade, which was initially supposed to be completed in 2027, could face delays.

The Mitsubishi F-15J, a homegrown version of the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle, is the main interceptor of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force.

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Since 2020, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force only intercepts Chinese aircraft when they threaten the country’s airspace.