ROME — Italy has raised defense spending again as it plows money into the Tempest fighter jet program in 2022 and radically upgrades its forecast for its overall spending on the sixth-generation program.
The newly released 2022 budget includes 18 billion euros (US$18.4 billion) in defense ministry spending, compared to 16.8 billion euros spent in 2021, an increase from previous years.
The part of the budget dedicated to public procurement amounts to €5.42 billion, a jump of 34% from the €4 billion spent in 2021.
The true picture of Italian procurement spending should include the annual top-up for domestic procurement provided by Italy’s industry ministry, which stood at €2.43 billion, down slightly from last year’s €2.7 billion.
Total deliveries this year totaled €7.85 billion, up from €6.76 billion last year, which in turn is up from €5.45 billion in 2020.
In his introduction to the budget document, Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had made preparations for conventional war a priority.
“In this context, there can be no doubt about the need to follow the growth path of defense spending,” he wrote.
The document predicts that the upward trend in public procurement spending will stop next year, however, with total spending expected to be 6.18 billion euros.
The document estimates that defense spending this year, including the industry ministry top-up and separately voted funds to cover overseas military missions, totals €21.58 billion.
One program that benefited from a large increase in funding was the Tempest fighter, which unites Italy with the United Kingdom and Sweden.
After last year predicting annual spending in 2022 and 2023 of €20 million each year, the new budget foresees €220 million this year and forecasts €345 million next year.
Last year, the budget document projected total costs of €2bn for the program – this year planners revised that estimate to €3.8bn by 2036. The document calls for money to start flowing next year to buy two of the three planned amphibious ships for the Italian Navy, with an expected program life-cycle budget of €1.2 billion by 2036.
Interest is also growing in a new tracked combat vehicle to replace the Italian Dardo vehicles. Last year, the budget document said Italy expected to spend 2.14 billion euros on the program. This year, the forecast rose to €3.74 billion, with spending expected to begin in 2024 and continue for 13 years after Italy decides on international partners.
Other spending this year includes 510 million euros for new U-212NFS submarines, 1.4 billion euros for the Eurofighter program and 1.27 billion euros for Italy’s ongoing F-35 procurement program.
Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.