On December 14, 2023, the United Kingdom (U.K.), Italy, and Japan signed a treaty establishing a global combat air program (GCAP) international government organization. The GCAP intends to design and develop a stealth fighter with supersonic capability and state-of-the-art technology, including a radar that provides 10,000 times more data than is available with current systems, and to have it airborne by 2035.
The aim of the treaty is to help reduce overall development costs for the technology by combining funding and resources between the three countries. The governments of the three countries have stated that “the work distribution [for the international government organization] will be proportionate to each country’s contribution by financial and technical means under the spirit of equal partnership” and that the organization will help support the timely and affordable delivery of the GCAP. The treaty provides that it will
enhance cooperation in the field of combat air systems with the similar strategic goals of delivering vital military/defence capability, supporting national sovereignty and freedom of action, strengthening and sustaining their combat air industrial capability, supporting prosperity of the Parties and contributing to national security and international influence.
The U.K. government has stated that its aim in signing the treaty is to “improve military capability, prosperity and strategic benefits for all three countries … [and] support future Indo-Pacific stability and wider global security.” The treaty provides that the headquarters of the GCAP international government organization will be in Britain, resulting in the creation of new jobs. The treaty also meets the prime minister’s priority to grow the economy by supporting U.K. businesses and attracting investment in research and development.
Clare Feikert-Ahalt, Law Library of Congress
January 26, 2024
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