defence connect logo



Italian defence industry commits to sixth gen stealth fighter

BAE Systems concept of the GCAP

Italian defence companies have officially signed on to develop the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP future fighter project) on 26 January.

Italian defence companies have officially signed on to develop the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP future fighter project) on 26 January.

The GCAP multinational initiative led by the United Kingdom, Japan and Italy aims to develop a sixth-generation stealth fighter to replace existing Eurofighter Typhoon and Mitsubishi F-2 aircraft.

The Japanese, United Kingdom, and Italian governments jointly announced the development starting this year, the production of the fighter jet around 2030, and the first aircraft operational by 2035.


Previous sixth-generation projects such as the BAE Systems Tempest and the Japanese Mitsubishi F-X will be merged into the program.

The Italian defence industry team will be comprised of Leonardo, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italia.

MBDA Italia chief executive officer and executive group director, sales and business development, at MBDA Group Lorenzo Mariani said a team of Italian companies will participate in the development of the GCAP and support the Italian Ministry of Defence.

“By participating in the GCAP program and this second phase of our contract, MBDA Italia and our partners at research centres and SMEs will deploy our collective ability to manage the effectors and related technologies required for the system of systems,” he said.

“These technologies will form the basis of complex systems for national air defence. The ability to counter the most challenging threats will be a key element of the performance of a sixth-generation combat air system.”

Around €6 billion have been pledged by the Italian government for investment in research and development of the GCAP program in areas of strategic interest.

There will also be collaboration between defence companies, universities, research centres and start-ups in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Defence.

Leonardo chief executive officer Alessandro Profumo said the collaboration will allow national enterprise to reach the highest level of excellence and strategic autonomy.

This new phase is a crucial step in the process of identifying and making available the innovative technologies that will ensure our defence capabilities make the necessary generational, technological and operational leap forward,” he said.

“As part of the GCAP program, 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.”

Elettronica chairman and chief executive officer Enzo Benigni said the Italian industry’s significant role in the GCAP program will secure a national, European and international legacy of strategic autonomy and technological sovereignty.

“With the launch of this new phase of the GCAP program, we are developing a plan for technology and industry that will move Italy’s technology sector from the Typhoon era, the last major European combat air development program, into a new era of combat air underpinned by sixth-generation capabilities,” he said.

“The wider geopolitical context underlines how vital it is to achieve the right level of readiness, interoperability and availability of technologies. By doing so, we will be prepared to manage any crises that may affect us.”

Avio Aero chief executive officer Riccardo Procacci said the industry is bringing capabilities and technological excellence to the program.

“Today’s challenging geopolitical context requires technological solutions that focus on operational excellence and the ability to adapt to future scenarios,” he said.

“The GCAP program is responding to this need and will support the requirements of the Armed Forces while guaranteeing strategic autonomy.”

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!