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Britain, Italy, and Japan to build joint jet fighter

Defence Technology

Britain, Italy, and Japan to build joint jet fighter

Britain, Italy, and Japan are merging their next-generation jet fighter projects in a ground-breaking partnership spanning Europe and Asia.

The partnership is Japan’s first major industrial defense collaboration beyond the United States since World War Two.

The deal aims to put an advanced front-line fighter into operation by 2035 by combining the UK-led Future Combat Air System project, also known as Tempest, with Japan’s F-X program in a venture named the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), the three nations said in a statement.

Against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and intensifying Chinese military activity near Taiwan and Japan, the agreement may help Japan counter the growing military might of its neighbor China and give the UK a bigger security role in a region that is a key driver of global economic growth.

Amid what it views as deteriorating regional security, Japan this month will announce a military buildup plan that is expected to double defense spending to about 2% of gross domestic product over five years.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak separately said that his country needed to stay at the cutting edge of defense technology and that the deal would deliver new jobs.

Britain’s BAE Systems PLC, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Italy’s Leonardo will lead the design of the fighter jet, which will have advanced digital capabilities in AI and cyber warfare, according to Japan’s Ministry of Defense.

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