Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department approved a request by Japan for a $4.5 billion upgrade of its F-15J Eagle fleet of fighter planes.
Up to 98 planes, of about 200 owned by the Japan Air Defense Forces, would be brought up to a benchmark known as Japanese Super Interceptor under the plan, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on Tuesday.
The planes would receive the Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar, Advanced Display Core Processor II Mission System Computers, and ALQ-239 Digital Electronic Warfare System suites, in addition to training, support and testing equipment and other logistical elements.
The State Department action still requires the approval of the U.S. Congress and does not guarantee that Japan will purchase the entire package. The country's Air Defense Force has sought to upgrade the aircraft for the past two years, with Tuesday's DSCA announcement covering most of what they have sought.
"This proposed sale will provide Japan a critical air defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there," the announcement said in part. "Modernized F-15J assets will better enable Japan to respond to airborne threats and defend its airspace. Japan will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces."
Boeing Co. will be a prime contractor in the deal through the Foreign Military Sales program, though some items and services in the package will be sourced through Japanese defense contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. MHI has previously built F-15 components and assembled the planes, under license, in Japan.