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Leonardo and other Italian industry partners have signed the contract to support the Italian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) participation in Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).

Announced by Leonardo on 26 January, the contract supports the initial concept and assessment phase as well as the associated demonstration activities of the programme.

Apart from Leonardo as the strategic partner for GCAP, other Italian companies supporting GCAP include Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italia.

Under this contract, the companies will work on maturing technological developments to support GCAP’s ‘system of systems’ concept, which is based on the sixth-generation fighter aircraft that can operate in multi-domain environment.

The companies will also work in close coordination with the Italian MoD as well as research centres, universities, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to exchange knowledge and skills at national level.

The MoD will be responsible for determining the operational requirements of the future aircraft as well as for directing technological development and driving the needed industry support.

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By GlobalData

Leoanrdo CEO Alessandro Profumo said: “As part of the GCAP programme, Italian companies will play a fundamental role in the future of the defence industry at a national and international level.

“This will take place in a framework of growth that strengthens the operational capacity of our Armed Forces while at the same time generating positive returns including technological, economic and social progress for the entire national ecosystem.”

Italy, together with Japan, announced its participation in the UK-led GCAP effort in December last year.

The country has already confirmed to provide around €6bn to conduct research and development of collaborative work environment and digital infrastructure to support the future platform.

It is also expected to lay the foundation for potential international collaboration.