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IHI Expands Global Footprint with UK and Italy Development Centers for Joint Fighter Jet Project

Joining forces in the Global Combat Air Programme, IHI collaborates with international partners to pioneer a next-generation fighter jet, enhancing defense cooperation and technological exchange
i 7013.TSE Mid and Small Cap 2000
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Japanese industrial heavyweight IHI is set to broaden its horizons by establishing development centers in the United Kingdom and Italy, aligning with the collaborative efforts of Japan, the UK, and Italy to engineer a state-of-the-art fighter jet under the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP). This initiative, aiming for a 2035 deployment, represents a significant stride in international defense collaboration, marking the first instance a major Japanese defense contractor has ventured overseas specifically for this sector.

IHI’s strategic move to set up facilities abroad is poised to facilitate a seamless exchange of expertise with industry giants like Rolls-Royce, enhancing the synergy in developing the jet’s advanced engine technology. The GCAP’s management will be anchored in the UK, with IHI planning to inaugurate its branches there and in Italy in the fiscal year 2024, subsequent to the establishment of the GCAP International Government Organisation (GIGO) headquarters.

The choice of locations, including London, Bristol, and Torino, is strategic, offering proximity to pivotal aerospace players and government entities, thereby fostering a conducive environment for innovation and partnership. The envisioned next-generation jet promises to eclipse the capabilities of current fighters, incorporating stealth, state-of-the-art sensors, and networked operations, including integration with unmanned aircraft and coordination with U.S. forces.

This trilateral endeavor is not just a fusion of technological prowess but also a smart strategy to share the hefty load of development costs and risks. IHI brings to the table its acclaimed engine design and material technologies, vital to the program’s success.

The move signals a paradigm shift for Japan’s defense sector, traditionally insular but now increasingly engaging with global counterparts. The venture goes beyond mere technological collaboration; it is a testament to Japan’s expanding defense diplomacy and its commitment to contributing significantly to the future of global air defense capabilities, alongside respected partners Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric.

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