CNN — The United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy announced Friday that they will collaborate to develop a sixth-generation fighter jet that will rival or outperform the best warplanes currently used by China and Russia – and possibly even the United States, the trio’s main ally.
“We are announcing the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), an ambitious effort to develop a next-generation fighter aircraft by 2035,” the leaders of the United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy said in a joint statement.
The leaders’ statement did not specifically mention China or Russia, but stated that the new fighter jet is required because “threats and aggression” against the “rules-based, free, and open international order” are increasing.
“Defending our democracy, economy, and security, as well as preserving regional stability,” the leaders said.
The British government stated in a separate statement that development of the new warplane will begin in 2024 and that it will be flying by 2035.
According to the British statement, it will highlight technologies from each of the three partners.
“The goal is for this to be a next-generation jet enhanced by a network of capabilities such as uncrewed aircraft, advanced sensors, cutting-edge weapons, and innovative data systems,” the company stated.
The new jet is intended to replace the Typhoon fighters of the United Kingdom and the F-2s of Japan.
The new program will see the United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy go it alone, without the assistance of the United States, the world’s preeminent warplane manufacturer.
All three countries are involved in the United States’ fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighter program, in which all three fly the F-35 and versions of the plane are built in Italy and Japan. The new plane is not expected to have any impact on the F-35 program.
The US supports its allies’ plan.
The Pentagon backed the development of the new warplane in a joint statement with Japan’s Defense Ministry.
“The United States supports Japan’s security and defense cooperation with likeminded allies and partners, including with the United Kingdom and Italy – two close partners of both of our countries – on the development of its next fighter aircraft,” according to the US-Japan statement.
Meanwhile, the UK, Japan, and Italy statement stated that the new plane would be designed to integrate with all of their allies’ and partners’ defense programs.
“The name we chose for our program reflects our vision for future interoperability with the United States, NATO, and our partners across Europe, the Indo-Pacific, and globally.” “This concept will be central to its development,” the company stated.
The B-21 Raider was unveiled to the public on December 2, 2022, in Washington, DC.
Palmdale, California – The B-21, which is designed to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment, will be critical to ensuring America’s long-term airpower capability. (Photo by the US Air Force)
The United States Air Force has unveiled its latest stealth bomber aircraft.
The GCAP program, according to the leaders, “will support all three countries’ sovereign capability to design, deliver, and upgrade cutting-edge combat air capabilities.”
Critics claim that strict US export controls on military technology have limited what customers of planes like the F-35 can do to customize them to their specific needs.
The United States is also developing a sixth-generation fighter jet, dubbed the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program. minimum heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 expanding heal 350 heal
The objectives of the NGAD program are similar to those of the joint UK-Japan-Italy plan.
According to a US Congressional Research document, “the Air Force intends for NGAD to replace the F-22 fighter jet beginning in 2030, potentially including a combination of crewed and uncrewed aircraft.”
However, for the time being, the United States is pursuing the NGAD program on its own.
Economic interests shared
The leaders of the United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy all emphasized the importance of collaboration.
“It will deepen our defense cooperation, collaboration in science and technology, integrated supply chains, and further strengthen our defense industrial base,” they said in a joint statement.
The KF-21, South Korea’s homegrown fighter jet, makes its maiden flight. South Korea becomes the world’s eighth country to fly an advanced supersonic fighter.
South Korea joins the supersonic fighter club with the flight of the KF-21 jet.
The program is also expected to benefit the economy.
“This program will provide broader economic and industrial benefits, supporting jobs and livelihoods in Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom,” according to the statement.
According to the British statement, a PricewaterhouseCoopers 2021 analysis predicted that the new warplane program would support approximately 21,000 jobs annually by 2050 and contribute an estimated $32.1 billion (£26.2 billion) to the economy.
Meanwhile, China and Russia are believed to be interested in sixth-generation aircraft.
China and Russia are now flying fifth-generation fighters, the J-20 and J-31 jets from Beijing and the Su-57 from Moscow.
However, the F-35s designed in the United States are widely regarded as being on par with, if not better than, the Chinese or Russian aircraft.
War game suggests Chinese invasion of Taiwan would fail at a huge cost to US, Chinese and Taiwanese militaries
Egypt recovers heavy ‘Green Sarcophagus’ from the United States
Lula da Silva sworn in as Brazil’s president, amid fears of violence from Bolsonaro supporters