ROME, Italy (BulgarianMilitary.com) – The Italian F-35 Program will be slowed down and during the coming five years instead of 10 jets, it will be purchased six or seven of the previously planned quantity as reported by a government source, learned BulgarianMilitary.com
The decision comes out as a result of a review of the program by the Populist Government of Italy after taking office in June this year with the idea to reduce the money spend on defence in favour of social welfare programs and covering of tax cuts.
According to the source the orders will not be reduced, however the decision of the total F-35 purchase will be left to a future government. The plans of the previous governments included the purchase of 60 F-35As and 30 F-35Bs, 90 aircraft in total.
The discussions about the change in the schedule during the five-year mandate of the current government are underway with the USA as said by the source.
The decision on the slowdown is in accordance with the Italian policy on the F-35 set out by the Minister of Defence Elisabetta Trenta after taking office in June, “What I would like to do is lighten the load, since we have other spending commitments in Europe. We will try to stretch out deliveries instead of cutting the order, which would reduce offsets and mean penalties.”
Ten F-35As and one F-35B have been delivered to Italy by now. Two of the “A” versions and the “B” version are used for training purposes in the United States and the other eight F-35 are based at the Italian Air Force’s base in Amendola, southern Italy.
According to a defense spending document, which was released last month, the government will maintain spending on the program in the next two years, with €766 million due to be spent in 2019 and €783 million – in 2020. The mentioned figures should be treated as provisional until the overall budget is signed in Parliament within the coming weeks.
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Source: Defense News