ROME — Italy has hiked defense spending again as it showers cash on the Tempest fighter program in 2022 and radically upgrades its forecast for its total spending on the sixth-generation program.
The newly released 2022 budget includes €18 billion (U.S. $18.4 billion) in defense ministry spending, up from the €16.8 billion spent in 2021, which was in turn an increase from previous years.
The part of the budget devoted to procurement stands at €5.42 billion, a 34% jump on the €4 billion spent in 2021.
A true picture of Italian procurement spending should include the annual top-up for domestic procurement provided by the Italian industry ministry, which amounts to €2.43 billion, a slight dip from last year’s €2.7 billion.
Overall procurement this year then totals €7.85 billion, up from €6.76 billion last year, which in turn was up from €5.45 billion in 2020.
In his introduction to the budget document, Italian defense minister Lorenzo Guerini said the Russian invasion of Ukraine made preparing for conventional warfare a priority.
“In this context, there can be no doubts over the need to follow the path of growth in defense spending,” he wrote.
The document predicted the upward trend in procurement spending would, however, stop next year, with an expected total outlay of €6.18 billion.
The document calculated that defense spending this year, including the ministry of industry top-up and separately voted funds to cover oversea military missions, totals €21.58 billion.
One program benefiting from a big boost in funding was the Tempest fighter, which teams Italy with the UK and Sweden.
After last year predicting annual spending in 2022 and 2023 of €20 million each year, the new budget commits €220 million this year and forecasts €345 million next year.
Last year, the budget document predicted an overall spend of €2 billion on the program — this year, planners have revised that estimate to €3.8 billion by 2036. The document predicts cash will begin to flow next year for the procurement of two of three planned amphibious vessels for the Italian navy, with an expected life time budget for the program of €1.2 billion by 2036.
Interest is also growing in a new tracked fighting vehicle to replace Italy’s Dardo vehicles. Last year, the budget document said Italy expected to spend €2.14 billion on the program. This year, the forecast has risen to €3.74 billion, with spending expected to start in 2024 and last 13 years after Italy decides on international partners.
Other spending this year includes €510 million on new U-212NFS submarines, €1.4 billion on the Eurofighter program and €1.27 billion on Italy’s ongoing F-35 procurement program.
Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.