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Unprecedented Collaboration: UK, Japan, and Italy Team Up for GCAP Breakthrough

The firms will establish the ISANKE & ICS sector and introduce advanced electronics to the GCAP platform.

Leonardo, an Italian company, has entered into an agreement with industry partners from the UK and Japan for the subsequent phase of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).

The participating firms consist of Mitsubishi Electric from Japan and Leonardo and Elettronica from Italy, along with Leonardo UK.

The new collaboration was formed on March 15 during the ongoing defense event DSEI Japan at Makuhari Messe, Tokyo.

This marks the following formal step in establishing a permanent industrial framework for GCAP.

Within this partnership, the firms will assess different commercial and international operating models suitable for the program.

The collaborative effort will run concurrently with the ongoing research and development work conducted by individual industry partners.

The primary objective of the new agreement is to jointly develop the Integrated Sensing and Non-Kinetic Effects & Integrated Communications Systems (ISANKE & ICS) sector of GCAP.

This sector will directly contribute to the advanced electronics onboard the future combat aircraft, providing self-protection capabilities for the aircrews.

The development of this capability will involve the three-nation team reevaluating performance metrics, infrastructure, and program structures to expedite the project’s timeline, scheduled for completion in 2035.

To achieve this, the companies will leverage their individual experience and expertise.

Furthermore, the firms will collectively recognize the tri-national requirements and establish an approach to meet each nation’s demand for integrated mission support, freedom of action, and modification.

ISANKE is anticipated to unlock sixth-generation tactical sensing technology. It is based on a network of sensors resembling a spider’s web, focusing on delivering a fully integrated sensing, fusion, and self-protection network, unlike traditional fighter platforms with individual sensors.

The integrated network will be realized with the assistance of ICS, enabling ISANKE to support various crewed and uncrewed aircraft through this multi-domain system-of-systems.

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