The United Kingdom on Friday announced international aerospace coalition with Italy and Japan to build a sixth-generation fighter jet in order to rival or eclipse the best warplanes now employed by China, Russia and also its ally the United States.
“The Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) is a new partnership and ambitious endeavour between the UK, Japan and Italy to deliver the next generation of combat air fighter jets,” Downing Street said in a statement, as reported by news agency ANI.
The aim of the Global Combat Air Programme is to put an advanced front-line fighter into operation by 2035 by combining Japan’s F-X program and Britain’s Future Combat Air System project called the Tempest, the three countries said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increasing Chinese military activity around Japan and Taiwan, the deal will give Japan greater support in countering China’s growing assertiveness. It is also likely to allow Britain a bigger presence in the region that is emerging as a key driver of global economic growth.
“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,” the three countries said in a joint leaders’ statement, as reported by Reuters.
The project will not only help all three countries stay at the cutting edge of defense technology but will also create high-skilled jobs and strengthen industrial base.
“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 the UK Prime Minister in a separate statement.
The United States, an important ally of Japan welcomed the agreement and said, “The United States supports Japan’s security and defense cooperation with like-minded allies and partners, including with the United Kingdom and Italy,” reported Reuters.