Domenica, 21 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Senate passes motion on buying controversial F-35 fighters

English
© ANSA

Rome, July 16 – A majority of Italy's Senate
approved the plans to buy F-35 jet fighters in a vote Tuesday
but said future purchases should be approved by parliament.
The controversial purchase passed by a vote of 202 in
favour, 55 opposed and 15 abstentions.
Having already passed the same vote in the Lower House, the
purchase plans are now final.
Senators rejected a call to cancel the purchase of 90
Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets which, at an estimated $200
million per unit, are among the costliest fighter jets in the
world.
Italy has a duty to its allies and its citizens to invest
in the best defence systems possible, said Defence Minister
Mario Mauro, whose government will spend approximately 11.8
billion euros on the program over 45 years starting in 2015.
He told the Senate that weapons were not good or evil by
themselves.
"There are, however, adequate or inadequate military
instruments," he said.
"It is quite evident that if Italy is to be able to play an
important role in the new geo-strategic world...by honoring its
international commitments, it must be the will of parliament to
respond to the needs of modernizing our regular armed forces".
The purchase has been controversial and at times risked
splitting the left-right coalition government.
According to the defence ministry, the 90 aircraft will
replace 256 obsolete fighters in the Italian air force.
With radar-evading technology, it has been championed for
its advanced design but also heavily criticized for allegedly
not meeting the criteria of modern warfare, marked more by
guerrilla insurgencies than airborne dogfights.
Nine countries are involved in developing the F-35: Italy,
Canada, the United States, Britain, Netherlands, Australia,
Norway, Denmark and Turkey.
Had Italy reduced its investment in the program it would
have caused a ripple affect for each of its partner countries
that develop different components of the fighter jet.

(photo: Anti-F-35 protesters gather outside the Senate)

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