Rishi Sonak announced that the UK, Italy, and Japan will collaborate to create a new fighter jet using artificial intelligence.
Prime Minister says that the joint venture will create thousands of jobs in the UK and strengthen security ties.
The nations will create a new generation fighter, which is expected to enter service in mid-2030s. It will eventually replace Typhoon jet.
The new Tempest jet is expected to carry the most recent weapons.
As he visited RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, Mr Sunak stated that the partnership would “keep our country safe from new threats that face”
He stated that “we’re one of few countries in the world with the ability to build technologically advanced fighter planes.”
It is being developed already. The goal is to develop a combat plane that can provide speed stealth and use advanced sensors to aid the pilots when they are stressed or overwhelmed.
If necessary, it could fly without pilot input and be capable of firing hypersonic missiles.
However, building such complex aircrafts is very expensive. The Pentagon’s F35 program was the most costly ever. Britain therefore has been seeking partners.
Italy was already included, and Japan’s addition is significant – as Britain builds closer ties with its allies in the Indo-Pacific region concerned about China becoming more assertive.
The programme could be expanded to include other countries. France, Germany, and Spain have already started to work together on their own design – just like the United States.
BAE Systems in Warton and Samlesbury are key players in the development of Tempest in Britain. Other companies involved include Leonardo from Italy and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan.
This agreement is not only about security, but also economics for the UK. It is hoped that the development of a new fighter plane could lead to thousands of jobs in the UK and allow for more arms exports.
Before the visit to RAF Coningsby Mr Sunak stated: “The security and prosperity of the United Kingdom today and in the future will be of paramount importance for this government.”
“That is why we must stay on the cutting-edge in defense technology advancements – outpacing those who want to cause us harm.
“The international partnership that we announced today with Japan and Italy aims to achieve that goal, underlining the fact that security in the Euro-Atlantic as well as Indo-Pacific regions is indivisible.
“The next generation of combat aircraft that we design will protect us, our allies and the world. It harnesses the strength of the world-beating defense industry. This creates jobs while saving lives.
John Healey (Labour’s shadow defense secretary) said that his party supported the partnership, but warned about the training.
He said, “Ministers should make it clear how this fits into wider plans for the RAF’s future, including how they will avoid delays in fast-jet pilot instruction.”