F-15J Creative Commons photo, Flickr user tsukacyi.

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.

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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.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch