This article at ARES describes Raytheon making the case for using “legacy fighters”in the BMD role. The concept, Network-Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE), would require a fighter capable of carrying the AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range air to air missile coupled with modern radars.
The fighter-radar-missile combination “would make a lot of sense for Asian countries” that fly the same aircraft as the U.S.,” Arnie Victor, director of F-15 business development at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, says in the latest Aviation Week & Space Technology.
Not coincidentally, Japan is upgrading the radars on its F-15J fighters. Japan’s F-15s are also AMRAAM-capable.
Japan might want to hold out a bit for the next step in the program’s evolution.
“We have not shot NCADE from a UAV yet, but it is on our horizon,” Pagliara adds.
Japan would want to intercept a ballistic missile as quickly as possible, in the boost phase, which could put the platform in a high-threat environment. A better option than using a F-15 could be to put NCADE on a high-endurance, stealthy UAV. That would eliminate risking a pilot while giving the aircraft a longer loiter time on station. (Rogue regimes tend to dither.) It would also make the platform stealthy and harder for the bad guys to detect.
A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
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