Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce a collaboration between the UK, Italy and Japan to develop a new fighter jet that uses artificial intelligence.
Sunak says the joint venture aims to create thousands of UK jobs and strengthen security ties.
The nations will develop a next generation fighter – due to enter service in the mid-2030s – that will eventually replace the Typhoon jet. It is hoped the new Tempest jet will carry the latest weapons.
Work on developing it is already under way – with the aim to create a combat aircraft that will provide speed stealth, use advanced sensors and even artificial intelligence to assist the human pilot when they are overwhelmed, or under extreme stress.
It could also be flown without a pilot’s input if required and could be able to fire hypersonic missiles.
But building such a complex aircraft is extremely expensive – developing the F35 jet was the most expensive programme ever undertaken by the Pentagon – so Britain has been looking for partners.
Italy was already on board, and the addition of Japan is a significant move – at a time when Britain is building closer ties with allies in the Indo-Pacific region worried about a more assertive China.
Other countries could still join the programme. France, Germany and Spain are already working together on their own separate design – as is the United States.