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Italy may be considering additional Eurofighter buy, BAE Systems says

According to BAE Systems, Italy may be considering additional Eurofighters to offset the retirement of the Panavia Tornado and to replace older model Tranche 1 aircraft. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Italy may be considering the procurement of additional Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, consortium partner BAE Systems disclosed in late January.

In a written response to the UK parliamentary Defence Select Committee submitted on 23 January, the company said that Italy is reportedly considering acquiring new Eurofighter aircraft in response to the retirement of the Panavia Tornado, and potentially to replace its early model Eurofighter Tranche 1 fleet.

The Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana: AMI) fields 94 Eurofighters, of which 26 (16 single seat and 10 twin seat) are Tranche 1 standard. It also fields 15 Tornado Electronic Combat Role (ECR) aircraft, and it is the combination of these 41 aircraft that BAE Systems says could be replaced by new-build Eurofighters.

Given the prospective requirement, it could be that Italy opts for the latest Tranche 4/5 standard aircraft, as fellow partner countries Germany and Spain have done, and/or it may be looking at the Eurofighter ECR (named Eurofighter Elektronischer Kampf [EK] by its primary German customer) for the electronic warfare role currently undertaken by the Tornado ECR.

The AMI has not issued a formal requirement, and had not responded to a Janes request for comment at the time of publication.

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