This morning, we had a successful visit from the Prime Minister. As well as announcing the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), he had a tour at XI (Fighter) Squadron.
The PM visited our Quick Reaction Alert buildings, getting a chance to speak to the pilots and engineers at readiness. He received a tour of the Typhoon with XI Squadron personnel before viewing the Future Combat Air System model accompanied by BAE Systems employees.
The Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) is a new partnership and ambitious endeavour between the UK, Japan and Italy to deliver the next generation of combat air fighter jets.
Due to take to the skies by 2035, the ambition is for this to be a next-generation jet enhanced by a network of capabilities such as unmanned aircraft, advanced sensors, cutting-edge weapons and innovative data systems.
The Prime Minister said:
“The security of the United Kingdom, both today and for future generations, will always be of paramount importance to this Government. That’s why we need to stay at the cutting-edge of advancements in defence technology – outpacing and out-manoeuvring those who seek to do us harm."
“The international partnership we have announced today with Italy and Japan aims to do just that, underlining that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions are indivisible. The next-generation of combat aircraft we design will protect us and our allies around the world by harnessing the strength of our world-beating defence industry – creating jobs while saving lives.”
During the visit, the Prime Minister viewed Typhoon aircraft which have been at the heart of the UK’s air policing for two decades. The new combat aircraft designed by GCAP is expected to replace the Typhoon when it comes out of service. The Prime Minister also met Quick Reaction Alert Station engineers and pilots, who protect the UK’s skies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.