ROME — Italy has spent slightly more than €5 billion (U.S. $5.7 billion) on defense procurement in 2018 and launched a series of new programs, a newly released spending document has revealed.
Published months behind schedule, the Defence Ministry document also states that the ministry’s overall budget, which includes its contribution to procurement as well as funds for personnel and maintenance and operations, stood at €13.8 billion this year, up from €13.2 billion the year before.
The total budget for procurement combines a €2.3 billion contribution from the Defence Ministry funding with a €2.8 billion top-up from Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development, which has long shored up acquisition funding.
A chart published in the document shows that procurement funding from the defense ministry has risen 83 percent from €1.5 billion in 2008, and overtook Defence Ministry procurement in 2016 for the first time.
The figures are contained in Italy’s annual defense spending document, which is due to be examined by the Italian parliament’s defense commission next week and has been seen by Defense News.
The document breaks down spending per program in 2018 and lists new programs receiving funding for the first time, including four new Chinook helicopters for special forces troops, which will cost €528 million over nine years.
Launch funding is also allotted for the purchase of a third pair of U212 submarines for the Italian Navy, a program due to cost a total of €2.35 billion. There is also launch funding for a second pair of Cosmo Skymed Second Generation radar satellites which will cost a total of €212 million.
Also included in the budget is funding to launch the purchase of a new submarine rescue vessel which will cost a total of €424 million.
Usually published in the spring, the release of the budget overview has been held up by a change of government, which saw a center-left administration replaced in June by a populist coalition.
The new government’s defense budget plans are yet to be finalized as the overall state budget is still being worked on, but a source has already told Defense News that €450 million are to be trimmed from planned spending to help fund social welfare programs.
The programs to be put on ice during 2019 are NH-90 helicopter acquisitions and the CAMM-ER missile program, while plans to move the headquarters of individual military services in Rome under one roof in premises on the outskirts of the capital have been scrapped.