The governments of Italy, the United Kingdom and Japan said on Friday that they have agreed to join
forces “to develop a next-generation fighter aircraft by 2035”.
Britain, Italy and Japan are to co-operate in developing a next-generation fighter aircraft, the three nations say in a joint statement on Friday.
Britain and Japan have been building a defence relationship for some time. Last December, the two
countries agreed to develop a fighter jet engine demonstrator. In addition, the UK Ministry of Defence is
supporting Japan in their delivery of the Joint New Air-to-Air Missile (JNAAM) programme.
Under the banner of “Team Tempest” a British industry partnership involving BAE Systems, Leonardo,
MBDA and Rolls-Royce have also been leading the development of a new fighter to start replacing
Typhoon combat jets beyond 2040.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement providing security for Britain with programmes like
GCAP was vital.
“We need to stay at the cutting-edge of advancements in defence technology – outpacing and out-
maneuvring 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,” he said.
The joint statement from Italy, Japan and the UK
“As leaders of Italy, Japan and the UK, we are committed to upholding the rules-based, free and open
international order, which is more important than ever at a time when these principles are contested,
and threats and aggression are increasing,” read a joint statement. “Since defending our democracy,
economy and security, and protecting regional stability is ever more important, we need strong defence
and security partnerships, underpinned and reinforced by a credible deterrent capability. Our three
nations have longstanding, close relationships based on the values of freedom, democracy, human
rights and the rule of law.
“Today, we are taking the next step in our deepening trilateral partnership. We are announcing the
Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) – an ambitious endeavour to develop a next-generation fighter
aircraft by 2035. Through GCAP, we will build on our longstanding defence relationships. GCAP will
accelerate our advanced military capability and technological advantage. It will deepen our defence co-
operation, science and technology collaboration, integrated supply chains, and further strengthen our
defence industrial base.
“This programme will deliver wider economic and industrial benefits, supporting jobs and livelihoods
across Italy, Japan and the UK. It will attract investment in research and development into digital design
and advanced manufacture processes. It will provide opportunities for our next generation of highly
skilled engineers and technicians.
Sharing costs and benefits
“By working together in a spirit of equal partnership, we are sharing the costs and the benefits of this
investment in our people and technologies. Importantly, the programme will support the sovereign capability of all three countries to design, deliver and upgrade cutting-edge combat air capabilities, well
into the future. This programme has been designed with our Allies and partners at its very heart. Future
inter-operability with the United States, with NATO and with our partners across Europe, the Indo-
Pacific and globally – is reflected in the name we have chosen for our programme.
“This concept will be at the centre of its development. We share ambition for this aircraft to be the
centrepiece of a wider combat air system that will function across multiple domains. “Our hope is that
the Global Combat Air Programme, and through it our capability partnership, will be a cornerstone of
global security, stability and prosperity in the coming decades”.