The UK, Japan and Italy have agreed the next steps in the development of a next-generation combat aircraft for the Global Combat Air Programme, also known as Tempest.
The trilateral collaboration agreement will deliver the concept phase requirements for Tempest, which is planned to enter service in 2035 and replace the Typhoon.
The countries initially announced their Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) partnership in December 2022.
Engineers at BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence in the UK have been working on the aircraft as Team Tempest since 2018.
Tempest will form part of a wider combat air system that will use new technologies as they evolve to respond to increasingly high-tech and complex threats.
The first test flight of a Tempest demonstrator is planned for 2027. Earlier this year the UK Government announced £656 million (US$815 million) of funding for the program with an additional £1.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) planned for the next two years.
The trilateral agreement between BAE Systems, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Leonardo will involve the industry partners “maturing integration, collaboration and sharing of information towards the next phase of GCAP”.
It will support discussions aimed at setting out long-term working arrangements and maturing the concept and capability requirements for Tempest.
Herman Claesen, managing director, future combat air systems at BAE Systems said, “We are truly honored to be part of GCAP and will bring all our considerable knowledge accumulated through previous programs to the table. The collaboration agreement is one of the key steps to ensure our mutual success.
Hitoshi Shiraishi, senior fellow, GCAP at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said, “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 programme.
Guglielmo Maviglia, director GCAP program at Leonardo said, “GCAP is a hugely significant program for the security, political and economic prosperity of each nation and through effective knowledge and technology transfer will help to evolve and deliver important sovereign combat air capability in each nation for generations to come.”