The Navy’s long aspiration to acquire F-35B fighter planes to replace their Harriers, as other operators of that aircraft have done, has run out of time, the message from the institution’s top director, AJEMA If it does in the next few years if there is no increase (budgets) we will lose skills, which opens a very difficult path to get this 5 generation fighter-bomber.
Since the beginning of this century, the consecutive AJEMA (Admiral Chief of the Navy General Staff) has been warning of the need for the FLOAN 9th Squadron to replace its AV-8B Plus Harrier II fighter-bomber with the Lockheed Martin F-35, its version of the short takeoffs and vertical landing, the Bravo. With this initiative, Spain will follow the path of the United Kingdom, as well as the United States Marines and the Italian Navy, who are partners with the Navy in providing technical and logistical support to the Harrier.
In the absence of a budget to implement the program, the time factor is now added, not time to be more specific. AJEMA insists that the institution will have a critical future for the next several years if budget cuts for the Navy don’t end, with the loss of key skills like fixed-wing naval aviation, which former Commander FLOAN has explained at length.
One of the keys to the temporary problem was given by the chief admiral of the planning department of the General Staff of the Navy, Vice Admiral Gonzalo Sanz Alisedo: it was to enter service no later than 2028-2030. To achieve this goal, the acquisition of the F-35B would have to begin in the next five or six years.
The AJEMA stated that the goal is not to participate in the program where multiple countries that have purchased the fighter are the United States in addition to its launch vehicles, but rather to purchase multiple units directly with Lockheed Martin after obtaining approval is negotiated. from the US State Department. The aim is to make an acquisition, but obviously with industrial and other returns for Spain. So that it’s not just about paying for and buying an aircraft. There are countries that have done well, using the example of Singapore and Belgium, which closed the deal back in October 2018.
However, the budgets are burdened with repaying the payments made to the Department of Industry for the PEA (Special Weapons Programs) through 2028. This situation adds to the deficit that has arisen in the financing of the Navy in recent years. The F-35B program, apart from the industrial returns mentioned above, does not have the social / economic leverage of the systems built in Spain, which also works against it. (Julio Maz Sanz)
Photo: The revolutionary F-35B, an indispensable medium for the Spanish Navy. (Photo by Lockheed Martin)
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