The Roman rendez-vous. On Friday, Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto welcomed the United Kingdom’s Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace and Japan’s Deputy Defence Minister Atsuo Suzuki at Palazzo dell’Aeronautica, headquarters of the Air Force General Staff.
- The trilateral meeting hinged on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), a joint project to build the sixth-generation fighter jet shared between the three countries, fostering defence, political and industrial cooperation between Rome, London and Tokyo in the process.
How it went. Decode39 understands the climate was positive (even more so than past meetings) and conducive to further progress on the project. The trio agreed to hold another trilateral meeting in autumn; given the previous one took place in Tokyo and this happened in Rome, one might expect the next to happen on UK soil.
Words from the Italian Defence. “The GCAP is a successful initiative that will bring together the best expertise in the global aerospace landscape,” stressed Minister Crosetto, noting Italy “is making a significant technological and industrial contribution” to the project.
- Working on the GCAP is expected to spur positive knock-on effects in the fields of technology, innovation, research and development in aerospace, defence and security for all countries involved.
Ongoing convergence. Friday’s meeting happened in continuity with regard to the Tokyo trilateral, which featured Messrs Crosetto and Wallace as well as Japanese Defence Minister Yasukasu Hamada. The CEOs of the three main companies involved in the project (Leonardo, BAE Systems and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) also attended the final part of that meeting.
- The talks were geared at strengthening the GCAP partnership, which, as the partners reasserted, is steeped in the shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. And as Minister Crosetto noted, the programme remains open to other like-minded countries.