Spain procures 20 additional Eurofighters to replace its F-18s

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NATO’s Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) signed the contract for the procurement of 20 next-generation Eurofighter aircraft. Known as the Hawk program, the order will cover the delivery of a fleet of E-Scan radar-equipped fighter aircraft, consisting of 16 single-seat and 4 twin-seat aircraft, which will replace the fleet of F-18s operated by the Spanish Air Force in the Canary Islands.

With this contract, the Spanish Eurofighter fleet will increase to 90 aircraft. With the first delivery scheduled for 2026, these new aircraft will enhance and position the Spanish Air Force’s fighter fleet among its NATO allies with the most modern combat aircraft developed in Europe, in addition to securing industrial activity until 2030.

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This additional order reinforces Spain’s commitment not only to the Eurofighter, but also to its development and industrial environment. I would like to thank the customer for its strong position on European defense at a time when it is most needed,» said Mike Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.

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The acquisition, valued at €2.043 billion, was approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers on December 14, 2021 and includes the aircraft lot, engines, a simulator and the necessary support services.

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In service with Spain since 2003, the country’s air force operates the Eurofighter from the Morón (Wing 11) and Albacete (Wing 14) air bases, securing Spanish territory and playing a key role at the heart of NATO in different Air Policing missions in the Baltic and more recently in the Black Sea. With the arrival of these new aircraft, Spain will also equip a third base with Eurofighter aircraft, namely the Gando base in the Canary Islands, which houses the 46th Wing.

The Spanish Eurofighter is assembled, tested and delivered at the Airbus facilities in Getafe (Spain) and its industrial footprint translates into more than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in Spain alone. Leading national defense and technology companies are involved in the manufacturing process.

Airbus has also been working in Getafe in coordination with the Experimental Logistics and Armament Center (CLAEX) of the Spanish Air Force to carry out several modifications such as the implementation of the new CM02+ software package for the Eurofighter Tranche 1.

One of the main tactical improvements offered by this software is the new capability to automatically target air-to-surface weapons following the integration of the Litening III pod. Other air-to-air and air-to-surface capabilities have also been introduced, along with improvements to communications systems.

Eurofighter is Europe’s largest defense program, involving the four main countries: the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Italy. In addition to its technological capabilities, it secures more than 100,000 jobs in Europe. To date, the Eurofighter program has recorded 681 aircraft orders from 9 nations worldwide.

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