Boeing to integrate BAE Systems electronic warfare (EW) avionics aboard upgraded Japan F-15 jet fighter

Sept. 11, 2023
Japan Super Interceptor (JSI) helps Japan upgrade F-15 combat aircraft to fight effectively alongside Japan's fleet of F-35 joint strike fighters.

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio – Electronic warfare (EW) avionics experts at the Boeing Co. will produce EW avionics for modernized Japan air force F-15 jet fighter aircraft that will help protect the aircraft from radar-guided missiles.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, announced a $474.5 million five-year order Thursday to Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in St. Louis to add the BAE Systems Eagle Passive Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) to F-15 Japan Super Interceptor jet fighters.

The EPAWSS provides the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15 jet fighter aircraft with EW technology to make the most of mission effectiveness and survivability with offensive and defensive EW options for the pilot.

The Japan Super Interceptor (JSI) program is helping Japan to upgrade that nation's F-15 combat aircraft with new enabling technologies to enable Japanese F-15s to fight effectively alongside Japan's growing fleet of F-35 joint strike fighters. Boeing also is integrating the BAE Systems EPAWSS aboard U.S. Air Force F-15 jet fighters.

Related: Air Force starts installing EPAWSS advanced electronic warfare (EW) avionics aboard F-15E combat aircraft

Boeing is the original manufacturer of the 1970s-vintage F-15 Eagle jet fighter, and the BAE Systems Electronic Systems segment in Nashua, N.H., designs and builds the EPAWSS. McDonnell Douglas Corp. designed the aircraft and manufactured it from 1976 to 1996. Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas in 1996 and continued F-15 production through 2019.

EPAWSS also will be part of the avionics suite of the next-generation F-15EX, which is based on the F-15 Advanced Eagle that Boeing is building for the air forces of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which has a fly-by-wire flight control system, digital electronic warfare (EW) suite, an infrared search and track (IRST) system, and the Raytheon APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.

EPAWSS offers integrated radar warning, geo-location, situational awareness, and self-protection to detect and defeat enemy aircraft, air-to-air missiles, as well as surface-to-air missiles amid dense electronic signals in contested airspace. Its electronic countermeasures enable the F-15 to penetrate enemy air defenses.

The all-digital EPAWSS is smaller than previous F-15 EW systems, and offers improved reliability and maintainability. EPAWSS is replacing the F-15's ALQ-135 EW suite.

Related: BAE Systems to provide electronic warfare (EW) radar and missile countermeasures avionics for F-35 jets

Delays in building and deploying the Lockheed Martin F-35 have encouraged Air Force leaders to extend the service life of the F-15 fleet beyond 2040, with upgrades involving new active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars, new EW sensors and processors, and new cockpit displays.

Boeing won a $471.3 million Air Force foreign military sales contract in late 2021 to develop an integrated suite of aircraft systems to support modification of the Japan Air Self Defense Force F-15MJ aircraft as part of a potential $4.5 billion program approved by the U.S. State Department in 2019 to upgrade 98 Boeing F-15J jet fighters to Japan Super Interceptor aircraft.

These updated aircraft are expected to fly alongside Japan’s fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter-bombers and take advantage of the strongest capabilities of each aircraft. The F-35 is stealthy with advanced airborne networking, while the F-15 is fast, long range, and carries a large weapons payload.

The JSI upgrade includes new systems like the Raytheon's AN/APG-82(V)1 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the BAE Systems AN/ALQ-239 digital EW system. The JSI also could carry new missiles.

Related: L3Harris to build and upgrade airborne electronic warfare (EW) to defend aircraft from missile attacks

The Japan Super Interceptor program is expected to be similar to the U.S. F-15EX aircraft, which will augment the new F-35 with plenty of fire power on an affordable budget. In 2020 the U.S. Air Force announced a potential $22.9 billion contract to Boeing to design and build the F-15EX jet fighter.

The F-15EX also will have a substantially more powerful mission computer than all existing versions of the F-15, new cockpit displays, a digital backbone, infrared search and track (IRST) system, the Raytheon APG-63(v)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System (EPAWSS) -- an EW and threat identification system.

The F-15EX also will have terrain-following radar to enable the pilot to fly at a very low altitude following cues displayed on a heads up display. The targeting pod contains a laser designator and a tracking system with a 10-mile range. The plane also will have as many as 11 underwing weapons stations and digital Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems. The original F-15 jet fighter began development in 1967, and entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 1976.

On this order Boeing will do the work in St. Louis and should be finished by December 2028. For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at, BAE Systems Electronic Systems at, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at, or the Japan Air Self Defense Force at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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