Italy Says It Will Be Equal Partner in Jet Fighter Project with UK, Japan

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A concept model of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP)’s fighter jet is displayed at the DSEI Japan defense show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Japan March 15, 2023.

ROME (Reuters) – Italy said on Saturday it will be an equal partner in the next-generation fighter program with Britain and Japan, as further talks are still underway on the project, including on where to base its headquarters.

The three countries established the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) in December after Britain and Japan agreed to merge their fighter efforts in a ground-breaking collaboration that aims to deploy an advanced aircraft by the middle of the next decade.

Reuters on Thursday reported that Japan and Britain were going to dominate design and manufacturing on the project, with London likely to lead its organization due to its deeper and more recent experience in jet fighter development.

“The Global Combat Air Programme, or GCAP, is an actual trinational program based on the principle of equal sharing, as the Prime Ministers stated in the Joint Ministerial Declaration last December,” an Italian defense ministry statement said.

“The final decision will therefore encompass an equal and balanced share of costs and benefits.”

Reuters also reported the three partner countries were planning to choose Britain as the headquarters.

Italy said discussions are ongoing on this among the governments and the industrial partners.

“The three Ministries of Defence are currently conducting a study on the most suitable governance to achieve the capability goal by 2035,” the Italian defense ministry statement said.

“All other information amounts to pure speculation.”