The governments of the UK, Japan and Italy have announced plans to develop next-generation fighter aircraft.
On Friday, the leaders of three countries issued a Joint Leader’s Statement regarding cooperation in the joint development of next-generation fighter aircraft.
The joint announcement highlights the close government, military and industrial links between the nations. The program will build on the substantial progress already made in the UK by BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence who have been working in partnership since 2018 as Team Tempest to research, evaluate and develop a host of next-generation future combat air systems capabilities.
“The security of the United Kingdom, both today and for future generations, will always be of paramount importance to this Government. That’s why we need to stay at the cutting-edge of advancements in defense technology – outpacing and out-manoeuvring those who seek to do us harm. The international partnership we have announced today with Italy and Japan aims to do just that, underlining that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions are indivisible. The next-generation of combat aircraft we design will protect us and our allies around the world by harnessing the strength of our world-beating defence industry – creating jobs while saving lives,” said Rishi Sunak, UK Prime Minister.
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive, BAE Systems has added that the launch of the Global Combat Air Programme firmly positions the UK, alongside Japan and Italy, as leaders in the design, development and production of next-generation combat air capability.
“With our UK industry partners, we look forward to strengthening our ties with Japanese and Italian industries as we work together to deliver this program of huge importance to our global defense and security,” Woodburn said.
The new jet is seen as a replacement for Britain’s Typhoon fighters and Japan’s F-2s.
The new program will see Britain, Japan and Italy going their own way without the assistance of the US, the world’s preeminent warplane maker.
Under the fighter jet agreement, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will partner with British defense contractor BAE Systems PLC. Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A will be a key player in the project. Japan’s IHI, Britain’s Rolls Royce and Italy’s Avio Aero will be in charge of its engine, while Mitsubishi Electric Co., Leonardo U.K. and Leonardo S.p.A. will work on avionics, the Japanese side said.