It seems that the Spanish navy is very interested and the air force is still interested in LM’s F-35, despite the fact that Spain is set to join a Franco-German program to develop a new European plane.
Especially for the navy, the choice for the F-35B short-takeoff-and-landing variant of the plane is an obvious one. The Spanish navy wants to replace its 12 Harrier jets, which operate from the LPH Juan Carlos I. That ship’s short, ski-jump deck makes the F-35B the only option on the market.
But as defence news sites note the Spanish Air force is more flexible in replacing the 84 Boeing F-18s. Twenty planes of the “A” variant, stationed on the Canary Islands, need to be replaced first, by 2025, according to Brig Gen. Juan Pablo Sanchez de Lara, chief of the Spanish Air Force’s plans division.
Airbus is offering to outfit the squadron with the Eurofighter.
The two services cooperating on the requirements of a potentially joint program means the F-35 is on the table in some form or another, though it’s unclear how compatible the branches’ needs will be in the end.