Britain leads partnership for next-gen Stealth jets with AI weapons

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps signed a landmark treaty with Japan and Italy to develop the radar-dodging supersonic jets.

They will be equipped with highly-sensitive radar – 10,000 times more powerful than current systems – designed to give “battle-winning advantage”, he said.

Cutting-edge cockpit technology will enable pilots to control the plane using gestures.

The combat aircraft is due to take to the skies by 2035.

Mr Shapps said the programme is expected to create highly-skilled jobs and generate investment in the UK during the next decade and beyond.

BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK and MBDA UK are all playing a leading role.

The Defence Secretary said: “Our world-leading combat aircraft programme aims to be crucial to global security and we continue to make hugely positive progress toward delivery of the new jets to our respective air forces in 2035.”

“The UK-based headquarters will also see us make important decisions collaboratively and at pace, working with our close partners Italy and Japan, and our impressive defence industries, to deliver an outstanding aircraft.”

Mr Shapps signed the treaty in Tokyo with his Japanese and Italian counterparts, Minister Minoru Kihara and Minister Guido Crosetto.

It comes a year after the formal launch of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) – a tie-up between the three nations to develop the sixth-generation stealth fighter.

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The programme aims to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon in service with the Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force, and the Mitsubishi F-2 in service with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

GCAP will have its headquarters in the UK under the deal.

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