UK and Italy agree to deepen cooperation in space and cyber domains
Defence Ministers agreed to work together to support Ukraine, as NATO partners. Further collaboration will take place through shared projects like the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP)
The UK and Italy have agreed to further strengthen military collaboration as Defence Ministers Ben Wallace and Guido Crosetto signed a new Joint-Statement of Intent on bilateral defence co-operation.
The agreement was signed on Thursday 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 UK and Italian armed forces to operate together and develop shared capabilities to minimise costs is also part of the agreement.
During a bilateral meeting, Ministers discussed the Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, as well as the security situation in Libya and ongoing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans.Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
"Through this new defence agreement with Italy, our long-standing ally and friend, we are deepening our defence collaboration at a vital time for security across Europe and the wider world"
"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 Defence Ministers were joined by UK and Italian Foreign and International Trade Ministers at the Pontignano Conference – the biggest and longest-running UK-Italian diplomatic event, taking place on an annual basis.
The meeting of the UK and Italian Defence Secretaries was the first since the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) agreement - a trilateral project between the UK, 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. Collaboration among the three advanced industrial nations allows sharing of advanced technologies to get the best military capabilities, shares the cost of development as we modernise our capabilities and will strengthen the industrial base in each country.
As part of the trip, the UK Defence Secretary also visited the Leonardo’s aircraft division in Turin, where he met the company’s CEO and discussed the work on GCAP.