The Japan Defence Agency (JDA) plans to upgrade a single Mitsubishi-built F-15J fighter to begin flight testing the new XAAM-5 short range air-to-air missile next year.
The Central Procurement Office has placed a ´96 million contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to carry out the modifications. The aircraft is due to be delivered on 15 March.
The XAAM-5 is being developed by the JDA's Technical Research and Development Institute and Mitsubishi Electric to replace the AAM-3/Type 90 air-to-air missile. The weapon has a longer range and an improved imaging infra-red seeker.
The AAM-3 was developed by Japan to replace AIM-9L Sidewinders, and has a higher scan-rate seeker than the US missile. The XAAM-5 is being developed as a dogfight missile with extended lock-on range, improved off-boresight capability and enhanced infra-red counter-countermeasures.