LONDON: Britain, Italy and Japan said on Friday they will jointly develop a future fighter jet in a project that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said would guarantee national security and safeguard thousands of jobs.
The three nations held out the prospect of cooperation with European and US allies, which are developing their own “sixth-generation” planes, vowing to maintain “interoperability” among all the allies against threats from the likes of China and Russia.
The new “Global Combat Air Programme” is slated to produce its first jets by 2035, merging the three nations’ costly existing research into new aerial war technology, from stealth capacity to high-tech sensors.
“We’re one of the few countries in the world that has the capability to build technologically advanced fighter aircraft,” Sunak told reporters on a visit to a Royal Air Force base in eastern England.
“That’s important because it means we can keep the country safe from the new threats that we face,” he said. “It also adds billions to our economy and supports tens of thousands of jobs across the country. But it’s also good for our international reputation.” The announcement was accompanied by a set of images showing an artist’s impression of the sleek new jets flying past Mount Fuji and over London and Rome.
In a joint statement, the three countries said the project would “accelerate our advanced military capability and technological advantage” at a time when “threats and aggression are increasing” worldwide.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2022