Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP)
General information
Project forMultirole fighter
Issued byRoyal Air Force
Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Italian Air Force
InitiatedDecember 2022
PredecessorsBAE Systems Tempest, Mitsubishi F-X

The Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) is a multinational initiative led by the United Kingdom, Japan, and Italy to develop a sixth-generation stealth fighter. The programme aims to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon in service with the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force, and the Mitsubishi F-2 in service with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

On 9 December 2022, the governments of Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy jointly announced that they would develop and deploy a common fighter jet, merging their previously separate sixth-generation projects: the United Kingdom-led BAE Systems Tempest, and the Japanese Mitsubishi F-X.[1][2] At the end of December 2022, Japan and Sweden signed an agreement on possible future cooperation.[3]


Discussions to combine efforts on Tempest with Japan's own F-X fighter project as a means to cut development costs began as early as 2017.[4][5][6] The final decision made towards the end of 2022 to merge the development and deployment of a common fighter jet under a project called the "Global Combat Air Program" (GCAP) with development shared with Italy.[7][8][2] The jet is expected to also be designed for additional export markets to further reduce the per-unit costs.[9]


The programme is envisaged as an equal partnership between the member nations. In the UK, BAE Systems will act as prime contractor and handle the airframe, Rolls-Royce the engines, Leonardo's UK division the electronics, and MBDA UK the weapons. In Japan, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will act as prime contractor, with IHI Corporation handling the engines, and Mitsubishi Electric handling the electronics. In Italy, Leonardo S.p.A. will be prime contractor, with Avio Aero working on the engines, and MBDA will also work on missile development.[10]

Programme timeline

By around 2024, detailed development and cost sharing for each company will be clarified, and production will begin around 2030, with the first aircraft to be deployed in 2035.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Why Japan Chose Britain and Italy for Its F-X Fighter Program". The Diplomat. 9 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b Chuter, Andrew (9 December 2022). "Move over, Tempest: Japan pact takes UK-Italy fighter plan 'global'". Defense News. Retrieved 11 December 2022.
  3. ^ Japan, Sweden sign deal for possible GCAP co-operation, retrieved 31 January 2023
  4. ^ Gady, Franz-Stefan (28 March 2017). "Japan and UK to Collaborate on Advanced Stealth Fighter Jet". The Diplomat. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  5. ^ Osborne, Tony (10 July 2020). "Export-Centric Tempest Has Global Ambitions For Partners". Aviation Week. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  6. ^ Davies, Rob (16 July 2018). "UK unveils new Tempest fighter jet to replace Typhoon". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Japan, U.K. to develop common airframe for next-gen fighters". The Japan News. Yomiuri Shimbun. 14 August 2022. Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  8. ^ "UK, Italy and Japan team up for new fighter jet". BBC. 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  9. ^ Bartlett-Imadegawa, Rhyannon; Obe, Mitsuru (29 December 2022). "Japan eyes JV and shared assembly for fighter with U.K., Italy". Nikkei Asia.
  10. ^ a b 日英伊、次期戦闘機の共同開発で合意 2035年に配備開始. Reuters (in Japanese). 9 December 2022. Archived from the original on 9 December 2022. Retrieved 9 December 2022.