Japan, Italy and the UK on Friday announced a joint plan to produce a next-generation fighter aircraft by 2035.
“We are announcing the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) – an ambitious endeavor to develop a next-generation fighter aircraft by 2035,” the leaders of the three countries said in a joint statement.
“Through the GCAP, we will build on our longstanding defense relationships," it said, adding: "The GCAP will accelerate our advanced military capability and technological advantage."
"It will deepen our defense co-operation, science and technology collaboration, integrated supply chains, and further strengthen our defense industrial base,” it said.
The project expects "future interoperability" with the US, NATO as well as other partners across Europe, and the Indo-Pacific.
The statement said the three countries “are committed to upholding the rules-based, free and open international order, which is more important than ever at a time when these principles are contested, and threats and aggression are increasing.”
It noted that the program "will be a cornerstone of global security, stability and prosperity in the coming decades."
A set of images showing an artist's impression of the new jets were also shared along with the announcement.
Separately, a joint statement by the US and Japan said Washington supports Tokyo’s “security and defense cooperation with likeminded allies and partners.”
“The United States and Japan are bolstering our defense cooperation in a number of promising areas, particularly in advancing opportunities for joint research, development, testing, and evaluation,” it said.
“Together, we have begun important collaboration through a series of discussions on autonomous systems capabilities, which could complement Japan’s next fighter program among other platforms.”
It said the cooperation enables “joint responses to future threats in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.”