Spain trying to acquire 50 F-35 fighters from US

Newsletter: If confirmed, the contract would be worth $4-6 billion.
By Matthew Bennett
Nov 04, 2021, 6:50 pm
Updated

Spain is one of three European countries trying to acquire Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the United States, Janes reports. The other two are Greece and the Czech Republic.

Janes reports Spain wants 50 of the super fighters, 25 x F-35As to replace ageing F-18s and another 25 x F-35Bs to replace its existing Harrier jump jets. First delivery would begin in 2027.

Defense News reported a Spanish procurement official as stating the F-35 is one of two options on the table, the other being the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The article does not mention a price, but looking at other countries' procurement costs over the past few years, $80-120 million each seems to be the ballpark, which would put the Spanish contract at somewhere between $4-6 billion, plus whatever the bombs, missiles, infrastructure, spare parts, fuel and training cost.

A phone call to the Spanish MoD this morning had not produced any official confirmation or response at the time of writing. The news comes in the middle of a national budget debate, with parties jostling to position themselves politically about the use of €140 billion in European Covid recovery money.

Any talk of more billions for expensive fifth-generation fighter jets would surely be controversial in the current political climate.

The right-wing opposition (PP, Vox) in parliament this week attempted to stop the socialist-communist government's (PSOE, Podemos) new budget plan by tabling and debating an amendment to the entire economic project, but MPs rejected the challenge on Thursday morning, 184 votes against (the amendement) and 155 in favour.

Update 1: In an email reply, the Spanish MoD did not deny the Janes report on the F-35 purchase: "I inform you that this department does not respond to or confirm stories published in the media".

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