The U.K. and Italy have agreed to further strengthen military collaboration as defense ministers Ben Wallace and Guido Crosetto signed a new Joint Statement of Intent on bilateral defense cooperation.
The agreement was signed on February 9 following a bilateral meeting and will see deeper cooperation and collaboration across military operations, particularly in the space and cyber domains.
The ability of the U.K. and Italian armed forces to operate together and develop shared capabilities to minimize costs is also part of the agreement.
During a bilateral meeting, Ministers discussed Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, as well as the security situation in Libya and ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans.
“Through this new defense agreement with Italy, our long-standing ally and friend, we are deepening our defense collaboration at a vital time for security across Europe and the wider world,” Wallace said. “Working together as NATO allies to support Ukraine, and also on joint projects including the Global Combat Air Programme, we continue to promote our collective industries and increase our capabilities.”
The meeting of the U.K. and Italian Defence Secretaries was the first since the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) agreement – a trilateral project between the U.K., Italy, and Japan, which was announced by the Prime Minister in December and will deliver the next phase of a combat air fighter jet development.
Due to enter service by 2035, the ambition is for a next-generation jet fighter, enhanced by a network of capabilities such as uncrewed aircraft, sensors, weapons and advanced data systems.