Spain Chooses Eurofighter Typhoons Over US F-35 Stealth Fighters

Spain has decided to focus on 'Made in Europe' Eurofighter Typhoons, rejecting the US F-35 Stealth Fighters. This decision comes as a setback for the Pentagon, which had hoped that Spain would acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as a potential replacement for its existing McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II and Boeing EF-18 Hornets.


Spain's decision was announced during the IQPC International Fighter Conference (IFC) 2023, hosted in Madrid. The Spanish Ministry of Defense stated, "We have no information about Spain’s interest in acquiring another weapons system other than the Eurofighter,". Previously, in November 2021, Spain had expressed interest in both the enhanced Long Term Evolution (LTE) version of the Eurofighter from Airbus and the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35A and short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B from Lockheed Martin. However, the latest announcement indicates that Spain has decided against any potential F-35 purchase, at least for now.


The F-35 Lightning II stealth aircraft has been gaining popularity across Europe, despite pleas from French authorities for its neighbors to "buy European." The F-35's high rate of interoperability with allies and partners, especially in NATO, and its assured upgrade roadmap have contributed to its success. However, these factors did not sway Spain, which has shown a preference for the homebuilt 4.5th-generation Eurofighter Typhoon over the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II jets.

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Spain's rejection of the F-35 may come as a surprise, as there were indications that momentum was building in the country for the purchase of the American stealth jets. However, Spain has been focusing on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), which it has been keenly pursuing alongside France and Germany. This decision underscores Spain's commitment to European defense projects and could influence other European nations' future defense procurement decisions. It also highlights the ongoing competition between American and European defense manufacturers in the global market.

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