SPAIN’s Air Force, or Ejercito del Aire, has announced plans to upgrade its entire fleet of aging jet fighter aircraft with state of the art machinery, bringing hope to national manufacturing plants.
The Ministry of Defense announced yesterday that it is in established talks to purchase 20 new Eurofighter Typhoons to replace their outdated, US-made EF-18 Hornets.
It is expected that the contract will be signed early next year and that manufacture fo the aircraft will begin later on in 2021.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is made by a consortium of companies including BAE Systems in the UK and Airbus, with large parts of the process taking place at Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA based in Madrid.
The plant, based at Madrid’s Getafe air base, was recently subject to 15,000 job cuts after Airbus recorded record losses thanks to both the COVID-19 crisis and a drop in sales of larger commercial aircraft such as the A380.
The news of the Air Forces’ plants will hopefully breathe new life into the plant, as the first 20 orders of the fighter aircraft is expected to be the first of a three stage ordering plan, with two more batches of 20 pencilled in before 2035.
It is not just Spain that has chosen the Eurofighter as their fighter of choice.
Germany is currently in the process of procuring 85 jets to replace their Panavia Tornado fleet, however this is likely to take some time as major upgrades are necessary to fully overlap their designed roles.
Plans are also underway to replace Spain’s training fleet of Spanish-made CASA C101 Aviojets.
A number of accidents at the Patrulla Águila aerobatic display team’s base in Murcia has pushed the plans forward as upgrades to the 30 year old aircraft become harder to come by.
While the turboprop Pilatus PC-21 is just one step away from being announced as the C101s replacement, talks are underway to investigate another European consortium built aircraft, the Airbus Future Jet Trainer, or AFJT.
As with the Eurofighter, Airbus Spain will also play a large role in the potential construction of the small twin seat trainer, and with more potential clients across Europe, many hope that the military will give Airbus workers the lifeline they desperately need.