Spanish Air Force’s F-18s can finally retire in 2024 after the contract with NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA) worth $2.15 billion was signed during the ILA Berlin Airshow by Carlo Mancusi. The deal struck is for 16 single-seater and four twin-seater Eurofighter combat aircraft. 

The Spanish government was looking to improve its fleet and aimed to replace the EF-18A Hornets that the 462nd Air Force Squadron is currently equipped with under Project Halcon. The old American Boeing F/A-18s are stationed at the Gando air base (Gran Canaria), located off the coasts of Morocco and Western Sahara. Its primary purpose is to provide air defense in the Canary Islands archipelago.

In 2020, Airbus Defence approached the Spanish government with a proposal and a contract for the 20 new Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft that will replace the retiring Hornets. According to Eurofighter, the contract for 16 single-seater and four twin-seater jets includes 48 of the jets’ EJ200 power plants from a group of leading engine makers.

EF-18A Hornet – C.15-66 (12-24) at Gran Canaria Airport. [Source: Wikimedia]

Closing the Deal

Secretary of State for Defence Amparo Valcarce attended the purchase ceremony on June 23, the first day of the ongoing ILA international aerospace exhibition at the Schönefeld airport in Berlin. The exhibit was held until Sunday, June 26th.