Italy will not buy more F-35 aircraft, Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta, said in an interview with Italian broadcaster La7 on Friday.
According to Elisabetta Trenta, Italy will not buy other aircraft, adding that the order for 60 F-35A and 30 F-35B fighter jets, which Italy concluded in 2012, might be placed under review.
“We won’t buy any more F-35s,” Defence Minister said in a television interview. “We are assessing what to do regarding the contracts already in place.”
Minister also noted that the cancellation of contract can negatively impact Italian workers who are employed in the production.
“No one is hiding the fact we have always been critical … In view of the existing contracts signed by the previous government, we are carrying out a careful assessment that exclusively considers the national interest,” she said.
Italy became the only country with an F-35’s production facility outside the US, where is set to produce a total of 30 F-35Bs to be delivered to the Italian Navy, Italian Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In May 2017, were rolled out the first F-35 jets. However, they were to be delivered to the US naval base in Maryland for certification and crew training.
It was originally foreseen that Italian F-35 production will generate more than 6,300 total jobs at peak production. The demand for labor will reach its highest levels between 2019 and 2026, when an average of 5,400 jobs are projected to be sustained annually. [Read the full report. ]
According to the official U.S. government program of record, Italy intends to procure a total of 90 F-35s.
The new fleet of F-35s could replace Italy’s 253 Panavia Tornados, AMX Fighter Bombers, and AV-8B Harriers.