Japanese AWACS Upgrade Proposed

Just days prior to the update to the US-Japan security cooperation agreement, the Pentagon notified Congress of the potential sale of a mission computing upgrade for Japan’s fleet of E-767 AWACS aircraft. The upgrade, valued at $950 million, would make the Japanese early warning aircraft more compatible with the US Air Force’s AWACS fleet baseline and improve interoperability between US and Japanese forces, states the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s late September release. The upgrade includes new electronic support measure systems, a next generation “friend-or-foe” identification system, cryptography computers, transponders, spare and repair parts, training equipment, and contractor support. Boeing would be the prime contractor for this upgrade. US officials, including Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, have stated that the Japanese are keen on advancing interoperability with US forces and expanding their organic intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities.