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IFC 2023: Spain rows back earlier stated interest in F-35

A model of the F-35 was displayed at the IQPC International Fighter Conference in Madrid. Tellingly, it featured Czech markings rather than those of the host country, Spain. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Spain has rowed back its previously stated interest in procuring the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as a potential partial replacement for its current Boeing EF-18 Hornet and McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II aircraft.

Having told Janes in November 2021 that it had requested information on both the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A and short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B at the same time as requesting information on the enhanced Long Term Evolution (LTE) version of the Eurofighter, it appeared to discount the F-35 on 6 November.

“We have no information about the interest of Spain in the acquisition of another weapons system other than the Eurofighter,” the Spanish ministry of defence (MoD) told Janes.

The MoD's statement was issued at the same time as the IQPC International Fighter Conference (IFC) 2023 was being held in Madrid. On the day of the MoD's response to Janes , the chief of staff of the Spanish Air and Space Force (Ejército del Aire y del Espacio), General Javier Salto Martinez-Avial, presented a comprehensive overview of his service's plans for the future, including references to the Eurofighters to be procured under the Halcon I and Halcon II programmes. He made no reference to the F-35.

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