Japan’s plans to co-develop a next-generation fighter aircraft with the United Kingdom and Italy reached a key milestone Thursday, with the three countries agreeing to establish an intergovernmental organization to manage the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), divide up work share and set out the roles of each partner.

At a meeting in Tokyo, the countries’ defense ministers signed a treaty envisaging the creation of the GCAP International Government Organization (GIGO), a body that will “lay a solid basis not only for delivering a next-generation fighter aircraft by 2035 but also for further enhancing the defense industrial base of each country,” according to a joint statement.

Made up of government officials from all three countries, GIGO will set out the aircraft’s overall capability requirements while overseeing a joint business construct — an industry counterpart of GIGO expected to be led by Britain's BAE Systems, Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Italy's Leonardo — that will be tasked with meeting those requirements in a timely and affordable manner.