Spain’s Socialist government signed off on an investment package worth €7.331 billion ($8.306 billion) on December 14 that covers defense and security programs within a multi-year period culminating in 2032. The investment package will cover funding on three major Ministry of Defense projects that affect each branch of the Spanish Armed Forces.
The first involves the procurement of five F-110 multi-mission frigates for the Spanish Navy. The new class of warships will replace the Spanish Navy’s six Santa Maria-class frigates built in the early 1980s and will cost €4.325 billion ($4.96 billion) with payments being made between 2019 and 2032. The F-110s will be built by Spanish shipbuilding prime Navantia and once completed will complement the five Alvaro de Bazan (F-100) frigates currently in service with the Navy since the early 2000s.
The second program covers new 8×8 wheeled armored vehicles for the Spanish Army. The investment in this project comes to €2.1 billion ($2.38 billion) with payments running out to 2030. This long-awaited “Futuro Sistema de Combate Terrestre” requirement will provide the Spanish Army with an 8×8 wheeled armored fighting vehicle (Vehículo de Combate sobre Ruedas, or VCR) to replace its obsolete 6×6 wheeled Pegaso BMRs. Prototypes have already been developed by a consortium consisting of Santa Barbara Sistemas, Indra and SAPA based on the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) Piranha V. The new AFVs will be referred to as “Dragon” in Spanish Army service. The order involves 348 Dragon AFVs with deliveries running through 2025.
The final major program involves an upgrade and modernization of the Air Force’ fleet of 73 Eurofighter Typhoons. This project will cost €906 million ($1.027 billion) with costs covered out to 2023 under the investment package. The mid-life upgrade will allow Spain to retain its Typhoon fleet through 2045.
Both the F-110 frigate and Dragon 8×8 AFV projects had remained on the Ministry of Defense planning list for years, but due to the after-effects of the 2009 global financial crisis and Spain’s sovereign debt pressures both programs were repeatedly pushed onto the backburner.