The Spanish government has recently unveiled ambitious plans to acquire an additional batch of Eurofighter fighter aircraft under the Halcon II program. This significant decision is part of Spain’s long-term commitment to enhancing its air force and ensuring the security of its borders and interests. With a dedicated budget spanning from 2023 to 2035 amounting to EUR 4.5 billion, Spain is poised to procure 25 Eurofighter fighter aircraft, complete with two simulators and a comprehensive technical support package. Published by the Council of Ministers on 12 September, the official documents outline Spain’s plans to acquire 25 additional Eurofighters (designated C.16 in national service) to replace the aging Boeing EF-18 Hornets (C.15M). The decommissioning process for the C.15M fleet is set to commence around 2030, making it imperative to secure replacements promptly. This necessitates the acquisition of not only the Eurofighter aircraft but also their engines and associated mission support systems. A spokesperson for Eurofighter confirmed that this marks the initiation of the Halcon II procurement program, distinct from the Halcon I program involving 20 aircraft. The total cost of this acquisition, along with an increase in the budget for Halcon I and other investments in Spain’s Eurofighter capability, is estimated at EUR 1.4 billion (USD 1.5 billion) allocated from 2023 to 2027.
The contract for this endeavor is expected to be finalized next year, marking a new chapter in Spain’s military readiness. Currently, the Spanish Air Force operates two distinct types of combat aircraft: the Boeing EF-18 Hornet of American origin and the Eurofighter EF-2000, proudly manufactured in Europe, with the Spanish variants produced at the Airbus assembly line in Getafe. While the Hornet has served Spain well for many years, its structural limitations restrict its operational lifespan, necessitating a replacement. The Boeing EF-18 Hornets in service, totaling 83, are set to reach the end of their operational life by the end of this decade. To address this concern, Spain has already placed an order for 20 new Eurofighters as part of the Halcon I program, which are scheduled for delivery between 2026 and 2030. This proactive approach to modernizing the air force underscores Spain’s commitment to maintaining a robust and effective defense apparatus.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a European multinational twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter. It was originally designed as an air-superiority fighter and is manufactured by a consortium of Airbus, BAE Systems, and Leonardo. The Typhoon’s impressive agility and versatility make it a formidable presence in the field. While initially designed for air-superiority missions, it has since evolved to excel in air-to-surface strike missions and is compatible with a wide array of armaments and equipment, including Storm Shadow, Brimstone, and Marte ER missiles. The Typhoon’s combat debut occurred during the 2011 military intervention in Libya when it was utilized by the UK’s Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force. During this operation, it successfully conducted aerial reconnaissance and ground-strike missions, showcasing its adaptability and effectiveness. Furthermore, the Typhoon plays a crucial role in air-defense duties for the majority of its customer nations, solidifying its reputation as a versatile and reliable asset.
Spain’s commitment to enhancing its Eurofighter capabilities is evident through its recent actions. In 2022, Spain ordered 20 Tranche 4 Eurofighters to replace the F/A-18 Hornets based in the Canarias, a strategic move to ensure the continued security of its territories. This demonstrates Spain’s dedication to maintaining a cutting-edge air force and its willingness to invest in state-of-the-art technology to safeguard its interests. Spain’s decision to expand its fleet of Eurofighter aircraft under the Halcon II program is a proactive step toward ensuring the country’s national defense remains robust and effective. The Eurofighter Typhoon’s proven track record, versatility, and adaptability make it a logical choice for Spain as it seeks to modernize its air force and replace aging aircraft. With a well-defined budget and clear objectives, Spain is poised to strengthen its position as a regional security provider and a steadfast defender of its national interests. As the contract for this endeavor is finalized in the coming year, the Eurofighter expansion program will play a pivotal role in safeguarding Spain’s security well into the future.