Creative Commons photo, Flickr user nubobo.

Japan is upgrading all four of its E-767 AWACS aircraft with new electronics suites. According to FlightGlobal, the kits, known as RSIP (Radar Systems Improvement Program):

“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.” (Link)

Flightglobal also notices something else: the RSIP kits are four years old.

“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.

Later it adds:

The [U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency] offers no reasons for the time lag between the original purchase and the current request for installation and checkout.

In addition to the E-767, the Air Self Defense Force operates 12 E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft.

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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 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch