Spain Axes F-35 Acquisition, Will Extend Harrier’s Life Service Beyond 2025

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  • 09:31 AM, May 29, 2014
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Spain Axes F-35 Acquisition, Will Extend Harrier’s Life Service Beyond 2025
Spain Axes F-35 Acquisition, Will Extend Harrier’s Life Service Beyond 2025

Spain’s acquisition of the F-35 will have to wait "until it becomes financially accessible", according to local media reports.

The F-35 was intended to replace the Harrier fighters however a 70-million euro plan to extend their service life beyond 2025 was announced earlier in the week.

According to ElConfidential, after the loss of the aircraft carrier 'Principe de Asturias’ -- an ideal platform for STOVL fighters, but which has now been retired -- the Navy had begun a process of reducing its Harrier force. Four of them were 'retired' after having been modernized at a total cost of about 11 million Euros (about 3 million Euros each) as no economic resources were available to operate and support them. 

However, the picture changed dramatically after the May 23 meeting of the Council of Ministers, when the government announced an extension of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Harrier’s lifecycle support, and which was to expire next December, the report said.

With an outlay of 70 million Euros-spread over ten years, Spain has gained access to the equipment and spare parts necessary to ensure that their fleets of AV-8B Harrier Plus fighters continue flying beyond 2025. 

According to Spanish Navy sources consulted by El Confidential Online, the F-35B "continues to be an unattainable aspiration in economic terms." In 2010, the Navy headquarters announced that it intended to procure 15 to 20 of these aircraft. These plans have now been parked indefinitely. 

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