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Italy, Japan, UK Sign Deal Bolstering Sixth-Gen Stealth Fighter Program

Italy, Japan, and the UK have signed an agreement in Tokyo to further strengthen their shared goal of developing the next generation of stealth fighters.

The deal establishes the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) International Government Organisation (GIGO), which will “pursue the guidance, direction, control, supervision, and management of the GCAP on behalf of the Parties.”

The organization is composed of government officials from all three countries, with manufacturers BAE Systems, Leonardo, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries serving as its industry counterparts and dealing with the project’s logistics.

GIGO plans to complete the sixth-generation stealth fighter project by 2035, as well as further enhancing the members’ defense industrial base. Both departments will be based in Britain.

Advocate for Change

GCAP Leonardo Director Gugllielmo Maviglia stressed the importance of the agreement and the changes it will bring to the industry.

“GCAP, which will see the development of an innovative next generation core platform underpinned by advanced technology, is charting a transformational new approach to international industrial collaboration,” he said.

The program currently employs 9,000 individuals and works alongside 1,000 suppliers.

The Next Generation

Nations around the world have been racing to develop the next generation of stealth fighters.

In 2022, China revealed a model for a tailless jet craft believed to be a design proposal for the country’s sixth-generation aircraft.

Earlier this year, the US announced an estimated $2.3-billion budget for its highly-classified Next Generation Air Dominance fighter program, issuing contract solicitations to industry partners and promising to award the manufacturing contract as early as 2024.

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