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Italian industry signs up to GCAP future fighter project

Although launching GCAP activities in December 2021, Italian industry officially signed up to the programme alongside Japan and the UK on 26 January. (Crown Copyright)

Italian industrial partners officially signed up to the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) on 26 January.

Leonardo, which heads GCAP development on behalf of Italian industry, announced the development, saying that the concept, assessment, and demonstration activities that will underpin Italy's participation in the programme are now under way.

“The team of Italian companies that will participate in the development of the new GCAP have signed a contract to support the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the programme's new concept and assessment phase and related demonstration activities,” Leonardo said, adding that it is joined by Elettronica, Avio Aero, and MBDA Italia in progressing technology development in support of the multinational project.

As noted by Leonardo, Italian activities related to GCAP started in December 2021, with the MoD allocating initial funding to launch the ‘Typhoon-to-GCAP' technological evolution and transition phase with the support of industry. In support of the GCAP programme, Italy has already earmarked EUR6 billion (USD6.5 billion) for investment in research and development that will allow for the launch of technology development projects in areas of strategic interest.

Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom announced on 9 December 2022 that they were combining their future fighter efforts, with the launch of the new GCAP. The merging of the UK-Italian Tempest that sits at the core of the UK's Future Combat Air System (FCAS) technology initiative and Japan's F-X fighter into the GCAP effort was geared at delivering an operational sixth-generation combat aviation capability by no later than 2035.

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