UK, Japan, Italy to Proceed with Concept Phase of Sixth-Gen Combat Aircraft

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  • 08:16 AM, September 12, 2023
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UK, Japan, Italy to Proceed with Concept Phase of Sixth-Gen Combat Aircraft
Global Combat Air Program fighter illustration @Leonardo

The UK, Japan, and Italy have teamed up to work together on creating a new advanced sixth-generation combat aircraft as part of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).

The partners plan to determine the sensor hardware for their new advanced combat aircraft by mid-2025 and create a joint venture for work allocation.

An agreement involving BAE Systems (UK), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan), and Leonardo SpA (Italy) signed today, promotes integration and collaboration for the next GCAP phase.

The GCAP combat aircraft, set for deployment in 2035, considers radar and sensors a crucial component, worth up to 30% of the total value, reports Defense News. Sensor technology teams from Leonardo UK, Leonardo Italy, Italy's ELT Group, and Japan's Mitsubishi Electric aim to reach key milestones by 2025, aligning with airframe and propulsion teams.

The GCAP's sensor package combinesradar, electronic warfare, and electro-optics through a Multi-Function Processor (MFP). Unlike previous generations, the MFP rapidly processes data from various sensors, enhancing situational awareness.

The Integrated Sensing and Non-Kinetic Effects & Integrated Communications System (ISANKE & ICS) includes a high-performance radar called the Multi-Function Radio Frequency System. It improves data digitalization and offers flexibility in design.

After hardware definition in 2025, work will continue on sensor software.

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