Italy, the UK, and Japan have started a collaboration for the development of a sixth-generation supersonic jet: Tempest.
The collaboration was announced by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, confirming recent rumors in the international media. The next-generation fighter, which will eventually replace the Typhoon jet, is being developed by the three nations and is scheduled to go into service in the middle of the 2030s. A combat aircraft that combines speed, stealth, cutting-edge sensors, and artificial intelligence to help the human pilot when they are overwhelmed or under great stress is already being developed.
Additionally, it could fly without a pilot’s input and launch hypersonic missiles. This is the first significant industrial defense partnership outside of the United States for Japan since World War Two.
According to Britain, more nations may join the project. Along with the United States, France, Germany, and Spain are already collaborating on their own unique designs. The Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), a partnership between the British-led Future Combat Air System programme, also known as Tempest, and Japan’s F-X program, seeks to bring an advanced front-line fighter into service by 2035, the three nations announced in a statement on Friday.
The pact may help Japan counteract the growing military power of its larger neighbor and give Britain a wider security role in a region that is a vital engine of global economic development in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and increasing Chinese military action surrounding Japan and Taiwan.
Along with avionics producer Mitsubishi Electric Corp., European missile manufacturer MBDA will participate in the project. The engine will be developed by Rolls-Royce PLC, IHI Corp (7013.T), and Avio Aero, the government noted.
However, the three nations have not yet agreed on several specifics of how the project would continue, such as work shares and the location of the facility.
According to people with knowledge of the conversation, Britain also wants Japan to change the way it grants security clearances to contractors who will work on the aircraft. It also stated that the fighter, which would replace its Typhoon aircraft and add to its fleet of F-35 Lightning aircraft, will be interoperable with aircraft operated by other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies.
On Friday, Mr. Sunak will officially start the program’s first significant phase during a visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
“The international partnership we have announced today with Italy and Japan aims to underline that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions is 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 defense industry – creating jobs while saving lives”, he said ahead of the visit.
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