Italy to cut defence budget

15/02/2012

Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola announced today to a joint defence committee of both houses of Parliament that Italy will reduce its order of F-35 by one-third as part of defence spending cuts.

According to the Minister, the country needs to its military by 43.000 including admirals and generals. To be deployed over the coming decade, this plan is due to give “better operating efficiency” implementing a switch of resources from personnel – which currently represents 70% of the budget – to investments. Considering Italy’s current financial situation and how little it spends on the military – 1.8% in 2010 and an expected 0.84% in 2012 – this shake-up is deemed necessary to reach long term sustainability.

Despite the decision to decrease the planned orders of F-35s from 131 to 90 aircrafts, Di Paola underlined the importance of the air force “now [the strength] is provided by Tornado, Amx and Av-8B, which in 15 years will reach the end of their operating cycle. They will be replaced by JSF, which is the best aircraft in the production line in the programs of over 10 countries”.

So far, Italy has already invested 2.5 billions euro ($3.3 billions) in the project, of which Finmeccanica, one of the country’s biggest defence contractors, is a partner.

The consequences of defence spending cuts will be discussed in the forums on future technologies and capabilities and on international cooperation of the 2012 Security Jam. Register here for this massive global online brainstorm.