The Spanish Air Force has placed a major new order to expand its frontline fleet with 20 new Eurofighter Typhoons.

The NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) has signed a contract for the acquisition of the jets.

Halcon programme

Known as the Halcon programme, the order will cover the delivery of a fleet of E-Scan (electronically scanned) radar equipped fighter aircraft consisting of 16 single-seaters and 4 twin-seaters to replace the F-18 fleet operated by the Spanish Air Force on the Canary Islands.

The announcement, made at the ILA Berlin International Air Show, will see the number of Typhoons in Europe increase to 545 aircraft, delivered or on order.

Delivery in 2026

The contract will also see the Spanish Eurofighter fleet grow to 90 aircraft, with the first delivery due in 2026.

“This additional order reinforces Spain’s commitment not only towards the Eurofighter but also to its development and industrial environment. I would like to thank the customer for its firm position with respect to European defence at a time when it is needed most,” said Mike Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.

The acquisition, valued at €2.043 billion, was approved by Spain’s Council of Ministers on 14 December 2021 and includes the aircraft, engines, a simulator and the necessary support services.

In service with Spain since 2003, the country’s air force operates the Eurofighter from the air bases of Morón (11th Wing) and Albacete (14th Wing).

NATO missions

The aircraft play a key role in NATO air policing missions in the Baltics and more recently the Black Sea. With the arrival of these new aircraft, Spain will also equip a third base with Eurofighter jets – Gando on the Canary Islands – which is home to the 46th Wing.

The Spanish Eurofighter is assembled, tested and delivered at the Airbus Getafe site in Spain.

BAE Systems

BAE Systems leads the overall design, development, manufacture, upgrade and support for Typhoon aircraft in the UK.

BAE Systems is responsible for manufacturing more than a third of components for every Spanish aircraft, including the aircraft’s front fuselage and tail, under a contract worth in excess of £500m.

Air security

Andrea Thompson, Managing Director Europe & International, for BAE Systems’ Air sector, and Chair of the Eurofighter Supervisory Board, said: “The Spanish government’s commitment to purchasing additional Typhoons reinforces its position as one of the world’s most successful combat military aircraft.

“Every day we are seeing the important role which it plays in delivering air security in the skies over Europe and this investment only strengthens the international partnership which Eurofighter underpins.

“The fact that an existing Typhoon operator is committing to buying additional aircraft only reinforces their confidence in the aircraft and its performance.

“Our people will now work alongside our Eurofighter partners to ensure we provide the Spanish Air Force with the aircraft it needs to secure its skies for decades to come.”

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