The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced a contract to Boeing for the development of new systems for Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF) F-15 Eagle Super Interceptors fleet.

The contract is valued at up to $471m.

DoD said in a press statement: “The contract action provides for the design and development of an integrated suite of aircraft systems to support modification of the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15MJ aircraft and the development, test, and delivery of four Weapon System Trainers.”

The contract will see 70 fighters receive extensive upgrades under Japan’s Super Interceptor programme.

Initially, Japan intended to upgrade 98 airframes under the programme. However, the plan was dropped to save costs and also to integrate AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) with the upgraded F-15.

Work will be executed at the company’s Missouri facility and is expected to be completed by December 2028. The contract involves 100% foreign military sales to Japan.

US Air Force’s Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio is the contracting activity for the latest contract.

Developed by Boeing, F-15J aircraft is commonly referred to as ‘Eagle’. It is a supersonic fighter jet that feature all-weather air superiority for multi-role missions.

In July 2020, Boeing signed direct commercial sale (DCS) agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the upgrade of JASDF’s ageing fleet of Mitsubishi F-15J.

In October 2019, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a potential sale of F-15J aircraft upgrades for Japan.