UK, Italy, Japan team up for new fighter jet

It is hoped the new Tempest jet will carry the latest weapons.
An artist's impression of what the sixth-generation fighter aircraft by Italy, Japan and the UK might look like.
An artist's impression of what the sixth-generation fighter aircraft by Italy, Japan and the UK might look like.Torsakarin/Japan Ministry of Defense

London, Dec 9: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce a collaboration between Britain, Italy and Japan to develop a new fighter jet that uses artificial intelligence (AI).

According to Sunak, the joint venture aims to create thousands of UK jobs and strengthen security ties, reports the BBC.

The nations will develop a next generation fighter, due to enter service in the mid-2030s, that will eventually replace the Typhoon jet.

It is hoped the new Tempest jet will carry the latest weapons.

Work on developing it is already under way, with the aim to create a combat aircraft that will provide speed stealth, use advanced sensors and even AI to assist the human pilot when they are overwhelmed, or under extreme stress, the BBC reported.

It could also be flown without a pilot's input if required and could be able to fire hypersonic missiles.

But building such a complex aircraft is extremely expensive -- developing the F35 jet was the most expensive programme ever undertaken by the Pentagon -- so Britain has been looking for partners.

Italy was already on board, and the addition of Japan is a significant move, at a time when Britain is building closer ties with allies in the Indo-Pacific region worried about a more assertive China.

Other countries could still join the programme. France, Germany and Spain are already working together on their own separate design, as is the US.

For the UK, this agreement is not just about security but also economics, the BBC reported.

The hope is that developing a new fighter jet could create and sustain thousands of UK jobs and open doors to more arms exports.

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