The UK's requirement
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The UK's requirement

In 1996, the UKG began to formally examine options for a Future Carrier Borne Aircraft (FCBA) to succeed the Royal Navy’s (RN) FA-2 Sea Harrier from 2012. In 1998 the Strategic Defence Review White Paper recommended that the RN and RAF Harrier forces be combined into a new Joint Force 2000.

The FCBA requirement was subsequently broadened to include replacement of the RAF’s GR9/GR9A and T10 ground attack Harrier aircraft from around 2015. Reflecting this change the programme was renamed Future Joint Combat Aircraft (FJCA) in 2001, encompassing all the UK’s joint land and sea-borne expeditionary air-power capability requirements. Latterly and colloquially, this has become known simply as the JCA.

JCA thus defines the capability being sought, whilst the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has been identified as having the best potential to provide this capability.