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.
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.