The defence ministers of the UK, Japan and Italy announced that the three countries have signed an international treaty to establish a programme for developing an advanced fighter aircraft.
This agreement comes a year after London and Tokyo collaborated on merging their separate next-generation fighter efforts, which was their first major defence industry collaboration.
The treaty marks a key stage of the landmark Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) and the headquarters of the programme will be based in the UK. The GCAP aims to develop an innovative stealth fighter aircraft with supersonic capability and equipped with cutting-edge technology.
The GCAP builds upon the significant progress that has already been made in the UK by BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce, and the UK Ministry of Defence through the Team Tempest partnership. This partnership has been researching and evaluating a range of future combat air system capabilities since 2018. Additionally, it will continue to develop the necessary technologies to deliver next-generation combat air capabilities.
“No nation can do this alone to this level of expertise combined with our skills and our equipment, with our design and ability on production lines,” British defence minister Grant Shapps said.
Japan’s defence minister, Minoru Kihara said: “As we face the most complex security environment since World War Two… securing aerial superiority continues to be a crucial challenge that we must achieve.”