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Spain to buy new weapons for more than EUR 10 billion.

| 2018

Spanish Minister of Defense María Dolores de Cospedal will soon detail her new plan concerning a 15-year investment cycle for weapons systems. To put this plan in the Spanish defense “landscape”, let’s precise that the country’s defense expenditure for 2017 was estimated by NATO at 0.92% of GDP, the same as in 2014. The NATO target, agreed at the Wales summit meeting in 2014, is for national defense spending by all members to increase to 2% of their GDP by 2024.

Spain to buy new weapons for more than EUR 10 billion 925 001
The 15-year investment cycle is targeting a wide range of materiel, namely the replacement of the BMR 600s by Piranha 5 AFVs (Picture source: Army Recognition)

In January 2018, Minister of Defense María Dolores de Cospedal told parliament that Spain would not reach 2%, but would instead attain 1.53% of GDP, conditionally on the national economy performing sufficiently well. "Considering the most necessary and urgent capabilities, the new investment cycle will begin shortly with seven programs whose cost has been estimated at 10,805 million euros." This is how the document, completed on March 12 by the Secretary of State for Defense.

According to the Spanish newspaper Cadena Ser, the seven programs included in the text concern BMR 600 APCs to be replaced by Mowag Piranha 5s, F-110 frigates, new training aircraft, the modernization of the command and air control system, MRTT refueling aircraft, Eurocopter NH90 naval helicopters and the modernization of CH-47 Chinook helicopters. These seven programs constitute the first phase of the 15-year investment cycle

The execution of this new investment cycle will replace the one planned in the nineties, when Spain embarked on the so-called Special Weapons Programs (PEAS) for which we still owe about 20,000 million euros and which we will continue to pay until 2030.

Eleven special programs of the previous cycle are still in progress, to which are added another twelve that, although already completed, also involve pending payments. Among the 11 major programs that are still underway are the Airbus A400M transport planes, the Eurofighter “Typhoon II” fighters, the Tigre combat helicopters and the S-80 submarine. The latter, due to technical problems during its manufacture, and according to Navy sources, will force an increase in the initial cost foreseen for the program (€2,135 million) to €3.685 billion, although this increase will not be attributable to the new investment cycle.

According to military sources, María Dolores de Cospedal's department plans to bring the first phase of this new investment cycle to the Council of Ministers in the coming weeks. The process of the Council of Ministers will be the definitive green light for the Ministry's new procurement plan. What Defense has not yet clarified is the financing model of the new plan.

Sources near to the Under Secretary of Defense do not rule out that the annual items are included in the department's regular budget (as is the case with the PEAS), which would help Cospedal to comply with the commitment made to NATO by which, in 2024, Spain has to allocate 1.53% of its Gross Domestic Product to military expenditure.


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