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Fri, Sep 15, 2023

Development of GCAP 6th Gen Stealth Fighter Continues

Joint Anglo-Japanese-Italian Effort to Field Aircraft by 2035

Defense industry leaders hailing from the U.K., Japan, and Italy have entered into a trilateral collaboration agreement for purpose of delivering the concept phase requirements of a next-generation combat aircraft under the auspices of the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP)—a multinational initiative to develop a sixth-generation stealth fighter by 2035.

The agreement calls for significant information-sharing and cooperation between the U.K.’s BAE Systems, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Itay’s Leonardo SpA, and supports ongoing discussions vis-à-vis long-term working arrangements and maturity of the inchoate aircraft’s overall concept and ultimate capabilities.

BAE Systems managing director Herman Claesen stated: “We have maintained a high-tempo of engagement with our industrial and government partners in Italy and Japan since the launch of GCAP. The collaboration agreement signals the strong alignment across all three nations to meet common goals and objectives on the program to deliver a truly international, next-generation combat aircraft.”

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries senior fellow GCAP Hitoshi Shiraishi remarked: “We are truly honored to be part of GCAP and will bring all of our considerable knowledge accumulated through previous programs to the table. The collaboration agreement is one of the key steps to ensure our mutual success. We have already started cooperating closely with our U.K. and Italian partners and believe that our mix of cultures and diverse perspectives will contribute to the success of this program.”

Leonardo SpA director GCAP Guglielmo Maviglia added: “This trilateral collaboration on the program, for the development of a next-generation system, represents the flagship of the distinctive capabilities and disruptive technologies that the partners of the three nations will share, in an innovative way, for the success of the program. Participation in DSEI London fits perfectly into our progress of the collaboration and consolidates more than ever the strong ties created between the partner companies of Italy, the U.K., and Japan. In this context, we are particularly proud to be able to contribute to the future and the prosperity of the generations to come with significant implications for security and technological development, as well as in the field of research and innovation in the aerospace and defense sectors."

The GCAP program instantiates an equal partnership between the aforementioned member nations. In the U.K., BAE Systems will act as the initiative’s prime contractor and produce the GCAP aircraft’s airframe. The jet’s engines will be designed and built primarily by Rolls-Royce, its electronics by Leonard’s U.K. division, and its weapon systems by MBDA—a U.K.-based joint-venture of Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo. In Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will act as prime contractor, with Japanese engineering concern IHI Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric providing supplemental engine and electronics development respectively. In Italy, Leonardo S.p.A. will function as prime contractor, with Italian aerospace and defense firm Avio Aero providing engine subsystems and the Italian division of MBDA contributing additional missile-system development.



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