Japan has requested US government approval for the installation and checkout of four kits to upgrade the radars on its Boeing E-767 airborne warning and control system aircraft.

Tokyo has already procured four radar systems improvement programme (RSIP) kits, says the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The estimated cost of the installation and checkout work of the kits is $119 million, which includes transport of the aircraft to and from Japan, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, documentation and personnel, it says.

The prime contractor for the deal will be Boeing. Japan operates four E-767s, which are essentially 767 airliners modified with a mission package derived from the E-3 AWACS.

The latest announcement is apparently related to a similar one from 2006 that is listed on the DSCA website and which includes Japan's original request for the four RSIP kits. A 2006 press release from Boeing said that the company had won a $108 million contract to deliver RSIP kits for Japan's E-767s.

"RSIP increases the AWACS aircraft's radar sensitivity, allowing it to detect and track smaller targets," the company said. "It also improves the radar's existing computer with a new high-reliability multi-processor and rewrites the software to facilitate future maintenance and enhancements."

The DSCA offers no reasons for the time lag between the original purchase and the current request for installation and checkout.

"It is vital to the US national interest to assist Japan with developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability, which will contribute to an acceptable military balance in the region," says the agency.

"The proposed sale is consistent with US objectives and the 1960 treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security."

Source: Flight International