With Japan, Britain and Italy set to begin the next phase of talks about their joint next-generation fighter aircraft next month, industry officials have said that the partners are close to completing the aircraft’s conceptual design phase as they prepare to set up the industrial entities from the year-end that will deliver the program.

"We have completed the systems requirements review, meaning that we've now got a common requirement set for all three countries,” Jonathan Moreton, director of partnerships and exports at Britain’s BAE Systems, told The Japan Times.

BAE Systems is one of the three companies expected to be lead system integrators in the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP), alongside Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Italy’s Leonardo, in the new joint program.