TechItaly to invest £6.1bn on fighter jets and £16bn on tanks

Italy to invest £6.1bn on fighter jets and £16bn on tanks

Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
Images source: © Licensor
Norbert Garbarek

10 July 2024 06:43

According to Reuters, the Italian Ministry of Defence plans to spend nearly £6.1 billion over the next eleven years to purchase 24 Eurofighter Typhoon jets. Rome also intends to order over 200 Panther tanks from Germany and 350 Lynx combat vehicles.

As reported by the Defence Romania portal, which cites Reuters, Italy's plans are currently in the initial stages of the procurement process. The Ministry of Defence has just approached the government for approval to purchase the modern Typhoon jets. The request now needs to be reviewed by the relevant committees. The Ministry expects a decision to be made by 13 August at the latest.

Italy plans major purchases

In the context of enhancing Italy's defensive and offensive capabilities, the German portal Handelsblatt reported recently that Rome plans to place its most significant order ever with the German manufacturer Rheinmetall. This would include over 200 Panther tanks and 350 Lynx infantry fighting vehicles. The estimated cost of this undertaking is about £16 billion, and the implementation is expected to take fifteen years.

In the context of purchasing the aforementioned Eurofighter Typhoon jets, the relevant ministry has only just submitted a request for approval to acquire the aircraft to the authorities – this is the first step in the procurement process, which precedes the start of contract negotiations. Reuters explained that more details would be made public soon.

New typhoons to replace older models

The 24 Typhoon jets are expected to replace older models in Italy's arsenal, which will be phased out starting in 2028. It is unknown which specific machines will be replaced, but Defence Romania speculates that the older Italian Eurofighters may be the ones.

Let us recall that the Eurofighter Typhoon jets are designs whose history dates back to the 1970s. At that time, Europe needed to replace older aircraft that were no longer competitive with Soviet MiG-29s and Su-27s. The British RAF then announced the requirement to build an aircraft initially designated as AST-396. This soon evolved into today's Typhoon. Its first flight took place in March 1994.

This multirole fighter built in a canard configuration is powered by two EuroJet EJ200 turbofan engines, each generating thrust of about 5,715 kg (9,117 kg with afterburner). The Typhoon's wingspan is just under 11 metres, while its length reaches nearly 16 metres, with an empty weight of 11,000 kg. These parameters are somewhat close to those of the American F-16s but slightly larger.

The Eurofighter Typhoon accelerates to a speed of 2 Mach, or about 2,092 km/h, while its cruising speed with a whole load of weapons reaches 1.3 Mach (about 1,610 km/h). The aircraft can operate at 18,290 metres, with a range of about 3,700 kilometres. The primary armament of the Typhoon is the Mauser BK-27, a 27 mm calibre gun. However, various missiles (including AGM-84, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-120, Storm Shadow) and precision bombs like Paveway and JDAM can be mounted on towers.

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