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Joining Forces: UK, Japan, and Italy Join Hands for Game-Changing GCAP Endeavor

The firms will establish the ISANKE & ICS sector and introduce advanced electronics to the GCAP platform. Leonardo, an Italian company, has entered into a contract with industry partners from the UK and Japan for the upcoming phase of the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP). The participating firms include Mitsubishi Electric from Japan, as well as Leonardo and Elettronica from Italy, along with Leonardo UK.

This fresh collaboration was formed on March 15 during the ongoing defense event DSEI Japan in Makuhari Messe, Tokyo. It signifies the subsequent official measure towards establishing a permanent industrial framework for GCAP. Within this partnership, the companies will assess various commercial and international operational models suitable for the program. The joint endeavor will run concurrently with the ongoing research and development efforts carried out by each individual industry partner.

The primary aim of the new agreement is to collectively 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 incorporated in the future combat aircraft to provide self-protection capabilities for the aircrews. The development of this capability will require the tri-nation team to reassess performance metrics, infrastructure, and program structures in order to expedite the project’s timeline, set to be completed by 2035.

To accomplish this, the companies will bring their respective experience and expertise to the table. Furthermore, the firms will jointly acknowledge the trilateral requirements and establish an approach to meet the integrated mission support, freedom of action, and modification needs of each nation. ISANKE is anticipated to unveil sixth-generation tactical sensing technology, which is built on a network of sensors resembling a spider’s web.

It focuses on delivering a fully integrated sensing, fusion, and self-protection network, unlike traditional fighter platforms with individual sensors. The integrated network will be achieved through the utilization of ICS, enabling ISANKE to support various crewed and uncrewed aircraft through this multi-domain system-of-systems.

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