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Japan, Sweden sign deal for possible GCAP co-operation

An artist's impression of the Global Combat Air Programme aircraft formed as a result of a merger of the UK-Italian Tempest and Japanese F-X projects. (Crown Copyright)

Japan and Sweden have signed an agreement that could enable the Scandinavian country to play a role in the new Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).

The two countries signed the ‘Agreement on the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology' in late December 2022, about two weeks after GCAP partners – Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom – announced the joint fighter aircraft programme on 9 December.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD) told Janes that the agreement provides a formal framework for deeper bilateral defence-technology engagement. The MoD said the accord will initially facilitate talks between Japan and Sweden to identify areas of collaboration, including – potentially – GCAP.

“The details of defence equipment and technology co-operation with Sweden, including the next-generation fighter development, will be determined through the exchange of views between [the countries] in the future,” said a Japanese MoD spokesperson. “Therefore, at this point, it is premature to mention what areas it is possible to co-operate in.”

The MoD spokesperson added, “Sweden is an important partner with which Japan shares fundamental values, and [it] has advanced technologies in the defence field … The Japanese MoD will exchange views with Sweden in order to materialise defence equipment and technology co-operation.”

A press secretary for Minister of Defence of Sweden Pål Jonson had not responded to questions from Janes , at the time of publication.

GCAP merges the UK-Italian Tempest programme and Japanese F-X fighter project, with the aim to deliver sixth-generation combat aviation capability by the mid-2030s.

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