Spain launches Hornet and Harrier replacement efforts

by Gareth Jennings

Spain has a need to replace its Hornet (pictured) and Harrier aircraft, for which both the Eurofighter and F-35 are being considered. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Spain has launched its national Boeing EF-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II replacement efforts, with fiscal year (FY) 2023 funding now allocated to both projects.

The General State Budget published on 6 October disclosed that EUR220 million (USD216 million) has been allocated for the year to commence the process of replacing the Hornet (referred to in the document under its C-15 national designation) in Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire Español [EdAE]) and Harrier (VA.2) in Spanish Navy (Armada) service.

According to the document, EUR130 million is earmarked for the Hornet replacement in FY23, with a further EUR90 million to replace the Harrier and for Phase 2 of the Hornet replacement. In all, EUR10.75 billion is to be allocated to both projects up to 2028.

The disclosure of the allocation of funding for the Hornet and Harrier comes about 11 months after the Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to Janes


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Thailand seeks full squadron of F-35s by 2034

by Akhil Kadidal

The Royal Thai Air Force has sent a letter to the US government asking for the procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35A fifth-generation fighters. Acquisition of the aircraft could prompt the RTAF to retire old fighter types in service, such as Northrop F-5s and Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs. (US Air Force/Captain Kip Sumner)

Thailand has expressed an interest in having at least 12 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters in service by 2034.

A source in the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has told Janes that these numbers include an initial batch of two F-35As that the RTAF is hoping to acquire between 2026 and 2027. The source added that the RTAF has sent a letter to the US government asking for the procurement of this initial batch. “The letter was sent in September 2021,” the source said.

Janes has learnt that the potential procurement has been divided into three phases. During Phase 2 of the acquisition, the RTAF said it seeks to acquire four F-35s. The RTAF hopes to acquire the final batch of six F-35s by 2032.


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Ukraine conflict: Kyiv strikes deep into Russia

by Gareth Jennings

A Tu-22M bomber of the type damaged in a strike on Ryazan-Dyagilevo airbase. Two Tu-95s were also reported damaged after Engels-2 airbase was hit on the same day. (Tupolev)

Ukraine has conducted a series of airstrikes deep into Russian territory, targeting strategic bomber bases and a military airfield.

Strikes were recorded at three locations hundreds of kilometres inside Russia on 5 and 6 December, resulting in some casualties, as well as damaged aircraft and facilities.

Engels-2 and Ryazan-Dyagilevo airbases were struck within hours of each other on 5 December, with Kursk Airport coming under attack on 6 December. Engels-2 is about 600 km east of Ukrainian controlled territory, and home to Tupolev Tu-95 ‘Bear' and Tu-160 ‘Blackjack' bombers, while Ryazan-Dyagilevo is about 500 km east of Ukrainian controlled territory, and home to Tupolev Tu-22M ‘Backfire' bombers and Ilyushin Il-78 ‘Midas' aerial refuelling aircraft. Kursk Airport is about 250 km east of Ukrainian controlled territory, with no military aircraft permanently stationed there.


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Update: Russia-China moving towards closer bomber co-operation

by Akhil Kadidal

The joint Russia-China bomber flight conducted on 30 November is the fifth such event in the last three years. It prompted a major show of force from countries in the region. The US Air Force scrambled at least two Lockheed Martin F-22s to intercept the bomber force. (US Air Force)

In a boost to interoperability, long-range Chinese and Russian bombers landed in each other's airbases for the first time, as part of a joint air patrol.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD), the drills began on the morning of 30 November. Two Chinese H-6K bombers were observed as they flew over the East China Sea.

“After passing through the Tsushima Strait, [the Chinese aircraft] advanced into the Sea of Japan [East Sea]. It was confirmed that it flew north towards the continent,” the MoD said in a statement.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/defence/latest/spain-launches-hornet-and-harrier-replacement-efforts

Spain has launched its national Boeing EF-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II replaceme...

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