June 23, 2022
Spain is set to receive 20 Eurofighter jets to replace a batch of F-18s the country’s air force operates from the Canary Islands, according to Airbus Defence and Space, the largest company of the industry consortium making the aircraft.
The signing of a €2 billion ($2.1 billion) deal at the Berlin Air Show on Thursday is part of a wider Spanish plan to replace its aging fleet of some 70 Boeing-made F-18s. Eurofighter had something of a lock on replacing the oldest of Spain’s U.S.-made planes, stationed on the popular tourist island of Gran Canaria west of Africa, and the government in Madrid cleared the purchase in late 2021.
The Halcon program, as the Spaniards call the acquisition, includes 16 single-seater and four twin-seater jets, all equipped with e-scan radars. With deliveries slated to begin in 2026, the new deal will bring Spain’s Eurofighter fleet to 90, according to Airbus.
The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) represents the four core governments involved in the program: Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain. Germany-based Eurofighter GmbH, the vendor, represents the participating industries of the member countries, led by Airbus Defence and Space for Germany and Spain, BAE Systems for the U.K. and Leonardo for Italy.
Airbus has pitched the modernization of its Eurofighter fleet as a stepping stone toward the eventual Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, a German-French-Spanish program meant to replace the type in Germany and Spain, and the Rafale in France.