Japan and the UK have partnered on a joint development programme to design and build a future fighter jet engine demonstrator.
The development is a key part of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy. Over £2bn will be invested by the UK in the coming four years to design the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), dubbed ‘Tempest’.
Work on the new demonstrator will commence in 2022.
An initial £30m amount will be invested by the UK. It will be used to plan, carry out digital designs and other developments.
The UK will invest a further £200m for the development of full-scale demonstrator power system.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Strengthening our partnerships in the Indo-Pacific is a strategic priority and this commitment with Japan, one of our closest security partners in Asia, is a clear example of that.
“Designing a brand-new combat air system with a fighter aircraft at its heart is a highly ambitious project so working with like-minded nations is vital.
“Building on the technological and industrial strengths of our two countries, we will be exploring a wide-ranging partnership across next-generation combat air technologies.”
According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), this work will be led by industry teams from the two countries.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and IHI will lead the work in Japan, while Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems will lead from the UK.
Rolls-Royce Defence Business Development and Future Programmes EVP Alex Zino said: “Across Rolls-Royce we have a longstanding and valued relationship with our customers and industry partners in Japan.
“The Industry teams in both UK and Japan bring complementary technologies that will drive cleaner, next generation power and propulsion for both nations future fighter requirements.”
Simultaneously, Japan intends to develop a future fighter aircraft through its F-X programme to replace the F-2 aircraft.
Furthermore, UK and Japan also agreed a ‘Memorandum of Cooperation’. This agreement will enable both the countries to pursue joint technologies.
The UK and Japanese Defence Ministries seek to further explore the feasibility of sub-systems collaboration throughout next year.
In July this year, BAE Systems signed an approximately £250m contract with the MoD to design and develop the FCAS.
The programme is being executed by Team Tempest, which includes Leonardo UK, Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and MBDA UK.