Global Combat Air Programme unveiled at DSEI Japan by UK, Japan, and Italy

Global Combat Air Programme unveiled at DSEI Japan by UK, Japan, and Italy

At DSEI Japan, the UK, Japan, and Italy jointly showcased their new Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) publicly for the first time since its announcement late last year.

The UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, visited Tokyo to view some of the ground-breaking technology driving this unique programme and meet with his Italian and Japanese counterparts.

The high-tech GCAP stand was on display at DSEI Japan, staffed by personnel from the three partnering countries.

Attendees could see a new 3-metre model of the latest aircraft design, and industry partners brought GCAP to life with a cockpit demonstrator and immersive simulators.

The GCAP aims to deliver a next-generation combat aircraft by 2035 and, by combining forces, will deliver the military capability needed to overcome fast-evolving threats, share costs, and ensure the RAF remains interoperable with some of the UK’s closest partners.

Moreover, the project is expected to drive economic growth and create high-skill jobs. In a report by PWC, the UK taking a core role in a combat air system could support an average of 21,000 jobs a year and contribute an estimated £26.2bn to the economy by 2050.

The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, emphasized that the Global Combat Air Programme is an enduring, strategic partnership that will see the creation of a sixth-generation fighter to protect the skies for decades to come.

During the conference, industry partners made several collaboration agreements furthering the work of the Global Combat Air programme.


For instance, BAE Systems, MHI, and Leonardo continue to work closely together on the next steps in the programme with a shared ambition for a joint industrial arrangement.

Rolls-Royce, IHI, and Avio Aero set out the terms under which they will pool their expertise to design, manufacture, and test a full-scale future combat engine demonstrator.

Additionally, Mitsubishi Electric (Japan) & Leonardo UK; & Leonardo and Elettronica (Italy) agreed to form a special domain to develop advanced on-board electronics providing aircrew with information advantage and advanced self-protection capabilities.

The Defence Secretary had a trilateral ministerial meeting with Japanese Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada and Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto during his visit.

They reflected on the importance of the landmark defence treaty, the Reciprocal Access Agreement, signed by the UK and Japanese Prime Ministers in January 2023.

They also discussed the UK’s recent defence activity with Japan’s Self Defence Forces, including Exercise VIGILANT ISLES and Exercise KEEN SWORD.

Furthermore, the UK Defence Secretary visited the 1st Airborne Brigade, the unit that hosted British Army personnel for Exercise VIGILANT ISLES in 2022, meeting and observing training by those engaging with our personnel and reiterating the importance the UK places on strengthening the UK and Japan defence relationship.

Finally, a new visual identity and logo were revealed for the GCAP programme, depicting a future combat aircraft.


The GCAP represents a strategic partnership of liberal and open democracies who believe in the rule of law, fusing the best of all technologies to protect the skies for decades to come.

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