Spain approves acquisition of 20 more Eurofighters

Spain's Council of Ministers gave approval on December 14 for Project Halcón (Falcon), the acquisition of 20 Tranche 4 Eurofighter Typhoons. These will replace the 20 F/A-18A Hornets operated by the Ejército del Aire’s (EdA – Spanish Air Force’s) Ala 46/462 Escuadrón from Las Palmas-Gando Air Base in the Canary Islands.

Spanish Eurofighters
A pair of Spanish Air Force/Ala 14 Eurofighter EF-2000s in flight near Gando on January 24, 2017, during dissimilar air combat training. In addition to being given the go-ahead to buy 20 more to replace the Hornets at Gando, approval has also been given to upgrade the existing Tranche 3 aircraft. Ejercito del Aire

The proposed acquisition has been planned for some time and the Government approval now clears the way for the contract to be finalised. The cost is estimated at €2 billion. Deliveries are expected between 2025 and 2030. The operational life of the 462 Escuadrón Hornets will end in 2023-2024. The new Eurofighters will join 73 aircraft already in EdA service.

The official announcement also said approval had been given to “carry out the modernization, evolution and logistical support of the EF-2000 (III)” in a programme that will run through to 2030. This presumably refers to planned mid-life update (MLU) of the EdA’s 20 existing Tranche 3 Eurofighters. Not mentioned were previously announced plans to include the 34 EdA Tranche 2 aircraft in the MLU programme.