If there is an investment that has not been spared during the Government of Pedro Sánchez –alone or in coalition with Podemos since January 2020– that is that of the large weapons programs. This is a series of capacities that the Armed Forces had to acquire or modernize in order to remain operational after an investment hiatus in the 2008-2014 period due to the crisis.
Some of these projects were designed as part of a new investment cycle by the previous Rajoy Executive. And, in that area, there was no political fray. The drawn line was followed. Thus, the green light was given with more or less diligence to the contracts for the 348 new 8x8 armored vehicles of the Army, the completion of the construction of the four S-80 submarines, five F-110 class frigates, 23 new NH-90 transport helicopters, two new military satellites or the modernization of the current fleet of 70 Eurofighter fighters of the Air Force or the 17 Chinook ground helicopters.
Let's say that there is a certain consensus between PSOE and PP, with Podemos outside of any decision-making. In total, in an initial round of investments, around 12.9 billion were approved to launch these projects and guarantee investments in future years.
In a second wave of investments or future commitments, already with the coalition government and with a post-pandemic scenario where the country's industrial rearmament is a 'mantra', Spain has made decisions to participate in the future European fighter (FCAS) with 2,500 million between 2021 and 2027, the conversion of three Iberia A330-200 aircraft into multipurpose and tankers (MRTT, in the jargon) worth 810 million, 36 new helicopters for Defense and Interior for 310 million or the modernization of the Tigre helicopter for 1,185 million euros.
All these projects have an impact on Spanish factories of companies such as Airbus, Navantia, Santa Bárbara Sistemas, Indra, Escribano, Grupo Oesía, Sener, Saes...
As part of this great military modernization package, the Treasury also gave the green light, last December, to the so-called 'Hawk Project' by which the Air Force will buy 20 Eurofighter combat aircraft for around 2,000 million to replace the F-18 from the Gando base, in Gran Canaria.
These aircraft conclude their operational life between 2023 and 2024, so the signing of the contract by the Ministry of Defense should be imminent, "a matter of weeks," according to military sources told ABC.
In this way, the Government of Pedro Sánchez will have invested and committed future expenses worth some 17,295 million euros. And all this was before the Ukrainian war. Spain, which currently invests 1.02% of its GDP in Defense, will have to raise that figure to 2%, according to the commitments acquired in NATO.