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DSEI Japan 2023: GCAP partners expand co-operation and take steps towards new funding arrangement

Industrial arrangements and funding agreements on the Global Combat Aircraft Programme are expected to be finalised before the start of full development in 2025. (Janes/Jon Grevatt)

Industrial partners on the Global Combat Aircraft Programme (GCAP) are ramping up co-operation on the project to support the start of full development from 2025.

The schedule coincides with a new financing model planned for the programme, under which partner governments will agree to share funding responsibilities.

Companies from the three GCAP partner countries – Japan, the UK, and Italy – highlighted their collaborative intentions at the DSEI Japan 2023 exhibition in Chiba. The event is the first at which the companies have been able to show a joint GCAP presence.

GCAP was announced in December 2022, merging the UK-Italy Tempest programme – the core of the UK's Future Combat Air System (FCAS) technology initiative – and Japan's F-X fighter programme. GCAP aims to deliver to the partner countries a sixth-generation combat aviation capability by 2035.

John Stocker, the BAE Systems business development director for FCAS, told Janes at DSEI Japan 2023 that the event represents a marker for the companies involved in the programme.

β€œThis is a nice moment for us collectively as a partnership,” he said. β€œWhat we are showing here is our joint presence around how not only lead systems integrator companies are working together, but also – and just as importantly – how our other partners are doing the same with their counterparts.”

BAE Systems is heading GCAP development for the UK, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for Japan, and Leonardo for Italy. Partnered companies also include Rolls-Royce, IHI Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Melco), MBDA, Avio Aero, and Elettronica.

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