Aircraft carriers, submarines, Eurofighter Typhoon : Spain wants to impose itself in Türkiye

Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Gular confirmed that Ankara was in negotiations with Madrid and London for the acquisition of around forty Eurofighter fighters. Typhoon, in order to modernize the country's air forces.

This announcement comes after other negotiations with Madrid, regarding the construction of a sister ship to the TCG Anadolu helicopter carrier, and technology transfers in the field of AIP propulsion for submarines, were revealed these last weeks.

What about these announcements, and what would be the industrial, military and political consequences if they were to be confirmed?

If, with a defense effort of only 1,3% of its GDP, Spain is far from being the most ambitious ally within NATO. It is not, on the other hand, the case for its defense industry.

Thus, it appears that Madrid is the third most invested country in European Defense Fund programs, with Spain participating in 74 research projects and more than 300 million euros invested by Madrid, following Italy with 320 m€ and France, in the lead with 360 m€.

Navantia Flight III destroyer
Navantia has built a reputation for commercial and industrial efficiency in the surface combatant market in recent years, recording numerous export successes.

Above all, in recent years, Spanish defense industrialists, very supported by the country's authorities and the vibrant Minister of Defense Margarita Robles, have shown exceptional qualities to increase their skills, and claim decisive markets, both in the field of armored vehicles and combat ships or even in the field of military aeronautics and on-board electronics.

To support such ambitions, with such a limited defense budget, it is obvious that the major Spanish defense manufacturers depend a lot on their success on export markets. So far, the bet has been a winning one for Madrid, especially with Navantia's numerous successes in the field of combat ships.

However, while the international market for defense equipment tends to tighten, with the arrival of new players very supported by their states such as South Korea and Turkey, the still fierce competition from traditional players and the great powers ever more invested to expand their sphere of influence, Madrid must redouble its aggressiveness to keep its defense industry on the empty trajectory.

It is in this context that, in recent weeks, several successive announcements and indiscretions show a rapprochement between the Spanish defense industry and Turkey, for several large-scale programs.

A second Anadolu-class aircraft carrier, the TCG Trakya

Defense industrial collaboration between Madrid and Istanbul is not, strictly speaking, new. Thus, the new aircraft carrier of the Turkish Navy, thee TCG Anadolu entered service in April 2023, and today amaril ship of the Turkish fleet, is derived from the Juan Carlos I class of aircraft carriers designed by Navantia.

LHD Anadolu class helicopter carrier
The TCG Trakya, like the TCG Anadolu, will use combat drones like helicopters

Deprived of F-35B after being placed under American sanction following the acquisition of a Russian S-400 air defense battery, the Anadolu has evolved to now serve as an assault helicopter carrier, with the upcoming capacity to implement combat drones, such as the TB3 on-board MALE drone and the high subsonic drone Kizilelma.


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