The F-15J in flight

The F-15J in flight (Source: MoD)

On Oct 31st, it was announced that Toshiba was seeking ¥9.3 billion in damages against the Ministry of Defense in the Tokyo District Court for the cancellation of a contract to upgrade F-15J fighters into reconnaissance planes.

From Mainichi Daily News:

According to the ministry, it concluded the contracts worth a total 12.3 billion yen in fiscal 2007-2009 with Toshiba to install casing underneath F-15 fighters to house cameras for taking optical and infrared pictures and sending data to the ground. The payment of 9.3 billion yen sought by Toshiba is the value of contracts for the casing and systems for sending and receiving data.

Toshiba asked the ministry to approve postponing the delivery from autumn of 2010 to spring of 2012, but the ministry canceled the contracts in March this year and sought 1.2 billion yen in damages for the breach of contracts.

The upgraded F-15Js were to replace the ASDF’s outdated RF-4E reconnaissance planes, reconnaissance variants of the F-4 Phantom in service since the mid-1970s. The RF-4E is still in service, providing aerial reconnaissance of Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant during the height of the crisis, but in great need of an upgrade.

The RF-15 upgrade would have given commanders on the ground real-time aerial imagery and video, but the MoD told Toshiba that the infra-red camera did not satisfy their specified requirements. However, Toshiba appears to be contesting that the MoD’s specifications were higher than specified in the contract (this is an inference from the MDN article above, which talks of ‘tanks’ not being up to scratch… a typo?).

The F-15J has already undergone an overhaul by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, running at around ¥6.3 billion.

The F-15s were grounded following the loss of a fuel tank mid-flight near ASDF Komatsu Air Base at the beginning of October. The ban was lifted on Oct 31st, according to the Associated Press.

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
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