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Italy, industry partners ink Sixth-Gen Jet development for Global Combat Air Program

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A Leonardo-led industry team has signed a contract to support Italy’s participation in the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP).

Under the agreement, the Italian Ministry of Defence will leverage the team’s expertise for the concept, assessment, and demonstration phases under the multinational initiative.

“This new phase is a crucial step… that will ensure our defence capabilities make the necessary generational, technological and operational leap forward, allowing our national enterprise to reach the highest level of excellence and strategic autonomy,” Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo stated.

“This will take place in a framework of growth that strengthens the operational capacity of our Armed Forces while at the same time generating positive returns including technological, economic and social progress for the entire national ecosystem.”

Moving From Eurofighter Typhoon

The partners of Elettronica, Avio Aero, and MBDA Italia will expedite the government’s contribution to GCAP’s “system of systems” capability concept based on a sixth-generation multi-domain fighter aircraft.

“We are developing a plan for technology and industry that will move Italy’s technology sector from the Typhoon era, the last major European combat air development programme, into a new era of combat air underpinned by sixth-generation capabilities,” Elettronica CEO Enzo Benigni explained.

Countering ‘Most Challenging Threats’

Work for the program will be facilitated alongside research centers, small-medium enterprises, universities, and start-ups to pool knowledge at a national level.

“Today’s challenging geopolitical context requires technological solutions that focus on operational excellence and the ability to adapt to future scenarios,” Avio Aero CEO Riccardo Procacci said.

“These technologies will form the basis of complex systems for national air defence. The ability to counter the most challenging threats will be a key element of the performance of a sixth-generation combat air system,” MBDA Italia CEO Lorenzo Mariani added.

Last year, Italy and Japan confirmed their participation in the UK-led coalition.

The Italian government has allotted 6 billion euros ($6.5 billion) for research and development in the program.

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