Global Combat Air Programme: Stealth fighter jet enabled by additive manufacturing?

The UK has signed an international treaty with Japan and Italy to develop a new stealth fighter jet, marking a key development in the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), and will see the UK host the government headquarters of the project. 

First initiated back in December 2022, GCAP has merged Japan’s F-X program with the UK and Italy’s Team Tempest project, with the aim of producing a sixth-generation Tempest supersonic jet by 2035. This is roughly half the development time of previous generation fighter jets such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, promising significant cost savings in the process. 

British aerospace firm BAE Systems, Italian defense contractor Leonardo, and Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are the program’s leading industrial partners. The companies are reportedly investing heavily in digital design, and novel engineering and prototyping methods to meet the project’s challenging deadline.   

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