TOKYO (Agencies): In a significant move, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy sealed a pact in Tokyo on December 14 to form an organization overseeing the development of cutting-edge stealth aircraft under the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP). The defense ministers of the participating nations signed a treaty envisioning the creation of the GCAP International Government Organization (GIGO), tasked with delivering a next-generation fighter aircraft by 2035 and strengthening the defense industrial bases of each country.
GIGO, comprising government representatives from Japan, Britain, and Italy, will define the aircraft’s capabilities and oversee a collaborative business structure led by Italy’s Leonardo, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), and Britain’s BAE Systems. The first CEO of GIGO will be from Japan, and the organization aims to optimize economic gains and enhance the industrial potential of each country for combat aircraft.
The agreement, yet to be confirmed by respective parliaments, reflects the nations’ efforts to bolster security alliances in the face of rising threats, particularly from an assertive China. The joint initiative, known as Tempest in the UK, amalgamates the European Tempest and Japanese F-X projects into a singular aircraft.
British Defense Minister Grant Shapps announced the pact on social media, highlighting the UK-based headquarters for the fighter jet, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs. The collaboration aims to counter emerging threats in a more dangerous age and contribute to global security. The development of the supersonic stealth fighter is anticipated to be a crucial aspect of global security, with delivery to respective air forces targeted for 2035.
The UK government emphasized that the fighter jet’s development would promote stability in the Indo-Pacific region, indirectly addressing concerns related to China. The collaboration, formed a year after the nations decided to merge their plans for next-generation fighter jets, signifies the UK’s post-Brexit strategy to foster international cooperation, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region alongside partners like the US and France.
The next-generation fighter, equipped with advanced technologies, aims to be among the world’s most sophisticated, adaptive, interoperable, and connected fighter jets. It will feature a radar capable of gathering data at a scale 10,000 times greater than existing systems, providing a tactical advantage in conflicts.
BAE Systems, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK, and MBDA UK, spearheads the initiative in the UK, with the joint efforts of lead businesses from Italy and Japan in design and development. For Japan, this collaboration marks a historic moment as it represents the first major military partnership with countries other than the United States since the end of World War II, signifying a significant milestone in the development of its next-generation combat aircraft for the Japan Self-Defense Air Force.