Global Combat Air Program (GCAP) is the not-so-catchy name of the Anglo-Japanese future generation jet fighter to roll out in the mid-2030s.
Although the name is new, the plane’s legacy stems from its long-winding development efforts- Japan for its F-X efforts, the UK for its Systems Tempest effort, and Italy.
For a decade now, both the UK and Japan have been looking into what fighter can replace their current planes in the mid-2030s.
Late last year, it became official. The British project where Italy is also a partner would merge with Japan’s project.
So what kind of fighter jet will the GCAP be? Well, the design isn’t finalized yet, and when the design freeze happens, it’s likely that we’ll hear little about it due to secrecy issues.
However, the final GCAP design will likely be a massive and fairly heavy jet, easily outgunning the F-22 in length, possibly wingspan, and possibly even matching it in weight.
Missile count is another way that Japan had made it clear that the new plane was going to be massive. One official even said that it can carry more missiles internally than the F-35.
One of the main reasons why GCAP is happening is that Japan is getting increasingly uneasy about the ever more capable Chinese military, which is approximately 500 miles away.
So, in a potential shooting way or even just a cold war arms race with China, the US wants its allies to be strong, having their own defense industries.
When It Finally Enters Service
Depending on the pace of the US and Chinese next-generation fighter programs, GCAP may be the second, or in the worst case, fourth 6th generation fighter when it finally enters service.