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Spain launches Hornet and Harrier replacement efforts

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 that it had issued requests for information (RFIs) for both the enhanced Long-Term Evolution (LTE) version of the Eurofighter and Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II to potentially meet the former requirement, and for the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B to meet the latter.

“[The] Spanish MoD is studying possible candidates for Hornet and Harrier replacement, and has sent a request for information about F-35A and F-35B to the US government,” the ministry told Janes in November 2021, adding that, “[The] MoD is working on the definition of a new version of Eurofighter called Long-Term Evolution.”

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