As the Air Force continues to wait for its F-18 to be replaced, another 250 million will be allocated to support the Eurofighter

The Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft requires an additional 250 million euros for the maintenance, replacement and modernization of intermediate and ancillary systems and equipment. This is explained by the reprimand by the Council of Ministers, following the approval of the Department of Defense on the 13th, which changed the limits set out in the General Budget Act to include spending commitments on future exercises to allow the Department of Defense to re-program the EF-2000 program.

The change in spending constraints is explained in part according to this reference, as the new systems become more expensive to maintain as the technology that needs to be integrated advances.

Recall that the Air Force currently has 70 Eurofighter Typhoons in service, divided into two squadrons: Wing 11 at Morn de la Frontera Air Base and Wing 14 at Albacete. After more than fourteen years of service, these aircraft accumulate more than 50,000 flight hours.

The short and medium-term priorities of the Air Force with regard to the Eurofighter are currently based on ensuring the capacity and functionality of the fleet and relying on the introduction of the electronic scan radar E-SCAN, the retrofitting of the Trancha 1 and the replacement of the F-18, the should begin with those stationed at Gando Air Base in Canarias. In this case, the Halcn program was proposed, which provides for the acquisition of 20 new Eurofighters to be put into service between 2025 and 2030.

With the upgrade of Tranche 1 and the E-SCAN contract already underway, the Ministry and Air Force’s immediate goal is to continue developing the fighter aircraft’s capabilities and replacing the fleet of F-In to support national sovereignty control in defining the Maintain requirements, continue testing and certification activities together with CLAEX and INTA, maintain and develop the maintenance capabilities of the masters, ensure access to new technologies built into the air platforms and ensure future integration into the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

The replacement of Gando’s F-18

The significant activity of the F-18’s small fleet and the harsh environmental conditions have obviously taken a heavy toll on wear and tear. In the middle of the last decade it was decided to reduce the availability of the fleet to a minimum. To solve this serious problem, the Air Force developed a crash plan that goes through a series of extensive maintenance work on the cells, in which 46 specialists from the Maestranza area are added to the material group of the wing. Albacete (MAESAL) and the Logistics Support Command (MALOG) as well as Airbus Defense & Space. Given the delays the lack of budget has put on buying new combat gear, the goal is to keep some of the fleet operational by the middle of this decade.

The Air Force Plans Department confirms that in the same year 2021, the oldest F / A-18s from Wing 46 will be decommissioned in 2024, despite the above-mentioned crash plan that allows some of the F / A-18s to fly. Meanwhile, the 462 will be through Periodic, if not constant, operations of the most modern operations of the 12th and 15th wings and occasionally reinforced with the Eurofighters of the 11th and 14th wings. In both cases, however, it is basically an emergency situation that needs a definitive solution. Indeed, the availability of the F-18s is decreasing, having benefited, like their companions in the Canary Islands, from a constant modernization program of the Logistics Center for Armaments and Experiments (CLAEX), but also suffering from a process of obsolescence of part of their equipment and systems, so that they are also in the last phase of their business life. It would have been on the table in those two sessions

Therefore, the green light should be given to the acquisition of further Eurofighters for the Air Force, which will be assembled on the Getafe Final Assembly Line (FAL), as would have already been the case at the meetings between the Spanish government and the Spanish government Airbus. (Jos M Navarro Garca)

Photo: A Eurofighter Typhoon from Wing 14 (Air Force)

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