Wheels in motion for a next-generation stealth fighter aircraft
The project is aimed at developing a next-generation jet with a network of capabilities, including uncrewed aircraft, advanced sensors, cutting-edge weapons and innovative data systems.
Amidst the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and the fast-changing geopolitical situation in the Asia Pacific, United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that his country is collaborating with Italy and Japan and will develop next-generation stealth aircraft by 2035.
This would be Japan's first major industrial defence collaboration beyond the United States since World War II. The three countries have merged their projects for new fighter jets, in which the UK is leading with its Future Combat Air System project, also known as Tempest, and Japan's F-X programme.
On Friday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited the UK Royal Air Force base to launch the first major phase of the programme. The project is aimed at developing a next-generation jet with a network of capabilities, including uncrewed aircraft, advanced sensors, cutting-edge weapons and innovative data systems.
"By combining forces with Italy and Japan on the next phase of the programme, the UK will utilise their expertise, share costs and ensure the RAF remains interoperable with our closest partners," an official statement said.
The UK Prime Minister said: "The security of the United Kingdom, both today and for future generations, will always be of paramount importance to this Government. That's why we need to stay at the cutting edge of advancements in defence technology -- outpacing and out-manoeuvring those who seek to do us harm."
"The international partnership we have announced today with Italy and Japan aims to do just that, underlining that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions are indivisible. The next generation of combat aircraft we design will protect us and our allies around the world by harnessing the strength of our world-beating defence industry – creating jobs while saving lives."
He further stated that in future, like-minded countries might buy into the project or collaborate on wider capabilities.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "This international partnership with Italy and Japan to create and design the next generation of Combat Aircraft represents the best collaboration of cutting-edge defence technology and expertise shared across our nations, providing highly skilled jobs across the sector and long-term security for Britain and our allies."
It should be noted that the deal inked up at a time when China has enhanced its military activities around Taiwan and the South China Sea. Beijing has been claiming these two regions as its own. Northeast Asia is also grappling with North Korea, which has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year.