Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft
Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft

Spain to Purchase 20 Eurofighter Typhoon Fighters for Canary Islands Air Command

The Government of Spain on July 9, 2020, announced the launch of negotiations with Airbus on buying 20 additional Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft for the Spanish Air Force. Both parties intend for the contract to be signed in 2021 and for the new aircraft to join Spain Canary Islands Air Command Wing 46 of the Air Force between 2025 and 2030. The Canary Islands Air Command (Mando Aéreo de Canarias – MACAN) is responsible for the defense of the Canary Islands and the only regional command. Spain is set to receive new Eurofighter combat aircraft to augment its existing fleet and to begin the process of replacing its Boeing EF-18 Hornet fleet.

Spanish Air Force 73 ordered Eurofighter fighter, of which 61 have been delivered and 58 in operation as of June 2018. Spain is planning to order 40 more Tranche 3 Eurofighters to replace its F-18 Hornets. These 20 Eurofighter fighters of the Tranche 3+ / Tranche 4 series will feature an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and other modifications. For Spain, the AESA would be ‘Radar 1’, development of which is being led by Hensoldt and Indra. Earlier this year, the Spanish Ministry of Defense rejected plans to purchase American Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters for the Air Force, although the possibility of buying a batch of F-35B aircraft for the Spanish Navy is not ruled out.

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A Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon with the 11th Wing receives fuel from a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J.
A Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon with the 11th Wing receives fuel from a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Soto)

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard–delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter and is manufactured by a consortium of Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo that conducts the majority of the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH. NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency manages the project and is the prime customer. The aircraft’s development effectively began in 1983 with the Future European Fighter Aircraft programme, a multinational collaboration among the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain. The aircraft’s name, Typhoon, was adopted in September 1998 and the first production contracts were also signed that year.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a highly agile aircraft, designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat. Later production aircraft have been increasingly better equipped to undertake air-to-surface strike missions and to be compatible with an increasing number of different armaments and equipment, including Storm Shadow and Brimstone missiles. The Typhoon had its combat debut during the 2011 military intervention in Libya with the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Italian Air Force, performing aerial reconnaissance and ground-strike missions. The type has also taken primary responsibility for air-defence duties for the majority of customer nations.

Spanish Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon Aircraft
Spanish air force crew members assigned to the 142nd Squadron at Albacete Air Base, perform pre-flight checks on a Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft during Red Flag 20-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, March 10, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dwane R. Young)
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