One of the JASDF's E-767s over Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, on 6 July 2011. (Image © Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz / USAF)

Japan upgrades its AWACS fleet again

Japan is once again upgrading its principal AWACS fleet: four Boeing E-767s delivered in 1998 and 1999.

Announced on 13 February 2015 Boeing will execute the work at the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Hansom Air Force Base in Massachusetts for US 402,8 million. For that money the aircraft will get a mission computing upgrade, both of the aircraft as well as for three ground support facilities. It will be a long-term program, with completion scheduled for well into 2020.

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s E-767s are somewhat similar to the Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft the US Air Force and NATO are using, apart from the fact that the two-engine 767s are cheaper to fly than the four-engine older 707s that are the core of the E-3s. Centre system of the E-767s is the Northrop Grumman (Westinghouse Electronic Systems) AN/APY-2 Passive electronically scanned array radar system that can detect targets in the air and on water on distances of 200 miles (320 km).

Boeing already started to improve the E-767 radar systems between 2006 and 2012, after which the JASDF E-767s were able to detect and track smaller targets.

All four aircraft fly with Hiko Keikai Kanseita (Squadron) out of Hamamatsu, about 55 miles (88 km) southeast of the city of Nagoya on Japan’s main island. Besides the four E-767 the JASDF operates 13 smaller Grumman E-2C Hawkeyes similar to the ones in use by the US Navy.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by Boeing and the US DoD
Featured image: One of the JASDF’s E-767s over Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, on 6 July 2011. (Image © Staff Sgt. Christopher Boitz / USAF)