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Italy's Defense Minister Says Military Programs Could Be Reduced

Mar. 12, 2014 - 03:45AM   |  
By TOM KINGTON   |   Comments
Matteo Renzi Government To Face Confidence Vote At
Italian Minister of Defence Roberta Pinotti attends a debate Feb. 25 in Rome. (Franco Origlia / Getty Images)
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As Italy seeks to raise revenue for tax cuts, the country’s new defense minister said big-spending military programs could be cut back.

In her first speech to parliament since she was appointed last month, Roberta Pinotti said March 12 that the government “will not hesitate to review, reduce or rethink even large projects that are under way or being considered if economic or international situations show them to be inopportune.”

Pinotti did not specify which programs might face cuts, but her speech will increase speculation that Italy’s purchase of 90 Joint Strike Fighters — already reduced from 131 — could be trimmed further.

Pinotti was named minister in February by incoming prime minister Matteo Renzi, who outlined bold plans on March 12 to cut taxes to help ease Italy out of its worst recession since World War II.

Members of the center-left Democratic Party, to which Renzi and Pinotti belong, have been pushing for cuts to the JSF program.

Separately, on March 11, Lockheed Martin announced that wing components produced by Italy’s Alenia Aermacchi for the JSF had flown for the first time on March 6 on a JSF due for delivery to the US Air Force at the end of the year.

Alenia is due to produce 800 wing sets for the program, but that workshare has been tagged to Italy’s purchase of 90 aircraft.

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