ROME — Italy has cut its procurement spending by 15 percent in 2019, newly released defense documents reveal, even as spending by its Defence Ministry increased, with maintenance and operations funds boosted by nearly one-fifth.

The numbers, which have been released for a sign-off by parliament, are contained in an annual document, which has been seen by Defense News and breaks down spending per program.

Total procurement spending is €4.32 billion (U.S. $4.84 billion), combining €1.87 billion from the Defence Ministry and €2.45 billion from Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development, which annually provides an essential monetary bump to cover domestic defense industrial programs.

That compares with a total of €5.08 billion spent last year — €2.3 billion from the Defence Ministry and €2.78 billion from the Ministry of Economic Development.

The new document predicts the €1.87 billion from the Defence Ministry outlay on procurement in 2019 will rise to €2.53 billion by 2021. The overall ministry outlay — which covers procurement, maintenance and operations, and personnel — rose to €13.98 billion in 2019 from €13.8 billion last year.

The hike allows spending on maintenance and operations to rise 19 percent to €1.75 million, a welcome increase for generals who have mothballed kit over recent years for lack of maintenance.

However, the total remains far lower than the €2.7 billion spent on maintenance and operations in 2008.

In its breakdown of spending per program this year, the document includes cash for the CAMM-ER missile system. The Defence Ministry withdrew a request it had sent to parliament for permission to acquire the system in October amid reports it was being sacrificed to boost welfare spending.

Instead, €1 million in initial 2019 funding is listed for the system, which is built by European missile-maker MBDA.

The document also lists €3 million for initial studies for the design of a new Navy minesweeper ahead of a projected €2.8 billion plan to acquire 12 of the vessels. Initial funding is also included for a €300 million oceanographic research ship.

Spending listed for ongoing programs includes €113.8 million in 2019 on Italy’s new LHD vessel, which is expected to host Italy’s F-35B fighter jets alongside the in-service Cavour carrier.

Spending on F-35 deliveries will total €690 million this year, rising to €859 million in 2020, the document stated.

Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.

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