Italy may join Japan’s sixth-generation fighter jet program, hinting at a deeper merger between the British-led Tempest program and Japan’s F-X.  

Alongside Sweden, Italy began to participate in the development of the BAE Tempest in 2020.  

In 2021, the UK and Japan joined their sixth-generation fighter jet engine development programs and, according to some reports, began to collaborate on other aspects of the aircraft. The possibility of a complete merger was also under discussion.  

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The United Kingdom will cooperate with Japan to assist the development of the F-X fighter.
 

On September 22, 2022, Defensenews.com published an interview with Italian Air Force General Luca Goretti who said that he will visit Japan to discuss collaboration on next-generation fighter jets in October.  

“I have been invited to Japan by the head of the Japanese air force to discuss common programs — it will be the opportunity to share our vision and common point of view,” Goretti told Defensenews.com.  

Japan started designing its F-X fighter jet as a continuation of the X-2 Shinshin fifth-generation design, becoming one of the few countries in the world publicly working on a design for a sixth-generation fighter.  

The UK’s Tempest project began in 2015, with the formal name of Future Combat Air System (FCAS) – not to be confused with a program of the same name run by France, Germany, and Spain.  

The aim of both the F-X and the Tempest is to replace fourth-generation fighter jets, namely the Eurofighter Typhoon (UK) and the Mitsubishi F-2 (Japan) with a new, highly advanced platform.  

Just like the FCAS program run in Europe and the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program in the United States, both the UK and Japan’s sixth-generation fighters are expected to employ stealth technologies, be optionally manned and display a high degree of manned-unmanned teaming.