Britain said on Friday it had allocated over $800 million for the next phase of its fighter jet programme with Japan and Italy, with a major contract awarded to BAE Systems.

The three countries agreed to join forces on the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) to develop a next-generation fighter jet in December, Japan’s first major industrial defence collaboration beyond the United States since World War Two.

“The next tranche of funding for future combat air will help fuse the combined technologies and expertise we have with our international partners – both in Europe and the Pacific – to deliver this world-leading fighter jet by 2035,” British defence minister Ben Wallace said.

BAE Systems was awarded the 656 million pound ($822 million) contract, which will also cover work involving project partners Leonardo UK, missile maker MBDA UK and Rolls-Royce UK, which is working on the engine.

Britain’s defence ministry said the contract would focus on developing technology for the jet, adding the investment formed part of 2 billion pounds up to 2025 that the government had committed to its fighter programme before it partnered with Japan and Italy on GCAP.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Mark Potter)

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