THE JAPAN Defense Agency (JDA) is close to a selecting a new radar for its fleet of McDonnell Douglas (MDC)/ Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ fighters, as part of a wider aircraft mid-life upgrade programme.

The improved Hughes APG-63 upgrade radar is understood to be the Japan Air Self-Defence Force's (JASDF) preferred choice of system. Also competing for the contract is Mitsubishi Electric (Melco), with its active phased-array radar, now under development for Japan's future FS-X support fighter.

The JASDF is finding it increasingly difficult to obtain spare components for the F-15's APG-63 radar, many of which are obsolete and no longer in production.

Planning calls for 100 later-build JASDF F-15s - around half its operational fleet - to be fitted with the new radar. The redundant APG-63 sets are expected to then be cannibalised to support the remaining Japanese aircraft.

Hughes has offered Melco licence-production of the APG-63 upgrade radar, if it is ordered. Mitsubishi, which has co-produced the F-15 for the JASDF since 1978, is expected to be awarded, the overall upgrade integration contract.

Japan signed a series of technical co-operation agreements in late 1994 with the USA, including a proposed joint upgrade programme for the JASDF and US Air Force F-15s (Flight Inter-national, 21 December, 1994-3 January, 1995). The JDA is hoping to secure funding in the next defence budget to enable it to join the US F-15 upgrade programme in 1996.

F-15 flight-testing of the upgraded radar, tentatively designated the APG-63 (V1), is scheduled to begin in 1997 and enter service with the USAF in early 1999. The radar draws on improved systems already incorporated into the Hughes APG-70 and APG-73 radar, developed for the F-15E and MDC F-18C/D.

Principal changes centre on a faster integrated data and signal processor and a single receiver/ exciter box. Data and signal processor memories have been expanded. Other modifications include a new power supply, improved resistance to jamming and a new wiring harness.

Source: Flight International