Britain’s programme to develop next-generation fighter jets with Japan and Italy has received a £656 million funding boost.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Friday announced the latest tranche of funding to propel the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) into its next phase, focused on technology.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the international defence partnership in December, with the ambition for the planes – called Tempest in the UK – to take to the skies by 2035 and serve as a successor to the RAF Typhoon.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The next tranche of funding for future combat air will help fuse the combined technologies and expertise we have with our international partners – both in Europe and the Pacific – to deliver this world-leading fighter jet by 2035, protecting our skies for decades to come.”
The MoD awarded the contract to BAE Systems, in collaboration with Leonardo UK, missile maker MBDA UK and Rolls-Royce, as well as industry partners from Japan and Italy.
The investment forms part of the £2 billion the Government has committed to the project up to 2025, announced in 2021 before the partnership with the other two nations on GCAP.
The aircraft are to be enhanced by capabilities including advanced sensors and cutting-edge weapons.
They are being developed in response to military bosses’ fears that air dominance is being threatened.