Japan, Britain and Italy are combining their next-generation jet fighter projects in a groundbreaking partnership that marks Japan's first major industrial defense cooperation outside the United States since World War II.
The deal aims to commission an advanced frontline fighter by 2035 by combining the British Future Combat Air System project, also known as Tempest, with Japan's FX program in a venture called the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), the three countries said in a statement.
According to Japan's defense ministry, Britain's BAE Systems PLC, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Italy's Leonardo will lead the development of the aircraft, which will have advanced digital capabilities in artificial intelligence and cyber warfare.
European missile maker MBDA will also join the project along with avionics maker Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
Rolls-Royce PLC, IHI Corp and Avio Aero will work on the engine.
However, the three countries have yet to work out some details of how the project will evolve, including the division of work and where development will take place.
Other countries may join the project, Britain said, adding that the fighter, which will replace the Typhoon and complement the F-35 Lightning fleet, will be compatible with fighters from other NATO partners.