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Britain, Japan and Italy join forces to develop next-gen fighter jet

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Britain, Italy and Japan Friday jointly announced their new Global Combat Air Program to develop a next-generation fighter jet by 2035. Pictured is a British F-35B aircraft, arriving at RAF Marham in 2018. File photo courtesy of British Royal Navy
Britain, Italy and Japan Friday jointly announced their new Global Combat Air Program to develop a next-generation fighter jet by 2035. Pictured is a British F-35B aircraft, arriving at RAF Marham in 2018. File photo courtesy of British Royal Navy

Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Britain, Italy and Japan are collaborating on developing future fighter jets, according to a joint statement Friday.

The nations announced the Global Combat Air Program to develop a next-generation fighter by 2035.

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"We are committed to upholding the rules-based, free and open international order, which is more important than ever at a time when these principles are contested, and threats and aggression are increasing," the joint statement said. " Since defending our democracy, economy and security, and protecting regional stability, are ever more important, we need strong defense and security partnerships, underpinned and reinforced by a credible deterrent capability."

The countries said the jet fighter development program will deepen their defense cooperation, science and technology cooperation, integrated supply chains and further strengthen the three nations' defense industrial base.

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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement the partnership seeks to underline" that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions are indivisible."

"The next generation of combat aircraft we design will protect us and our allies around the world by harnessing the strength of our world-beating defense industry -- creating jobs while saving lives."

According to the British government, the next-gen fighter jet being developed in this trilateral collaboration will be enhanced by a network of capabilities including "un-crewed aircraft, advanced sensors, cutting-edge weapons and innovative data systems."

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The British government said in a statement that the project "is expected to create high-skilled jobs in all three countries, strengthening our industrial base and driving innovation with benefits beyond pure military use."

"This international partnership with Italy and Japan to create and design the next generation of Combat Aircraft, represents the best collaboration of cutting edge defense technology and expertise shared across our nations, providing highly skilled jobs across the sector and long-term security for Britain and our allies," British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.

Britain said other like-minded nations may also buy into the Global Combat Air Program. The fighter jet being developed by the program is expected to be compatible with NATO militaries.

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