by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Feb 15, 2012
Italy on Wednesday unveiled sweeping defence cuts including a cut in F-35 fighter jet orders from the United States and a reduction of defence personnel by 43,000 people as it reins in spending.
"We currently have 183,000 soldiers and 30,000 civilians in defence. We will gradually bring that down to 150,000 soldiers and 20,000 civlians, with a reduction of around 43,000," Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola said.
"This target can be achieved in a decade with a 20-percent or 30-percent reduction in hirings, transfers to other civil service jobs and temporary work options," Di Paola told lawmakers at a defence committee hearing.
The number of admirals and generals would also be reduced by "more than 30 percent" from the 425 currently in service, Di Paola said.
Di Paola said orders for F-35 fighter jets would be cut from 131 to 90.
The army will also lose two of its 11 brigades, as well as reduce the number of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery pieces and helicopters.
The number of warships and submarines will also be reduced from 24 to 14.
Di Paola said some defence ministry property would be sold off "to contribute to a restructuring of the defence ministry and more generally to a financial recovery in the country," he said.
Canada appears to waver on F-35 purchase
"There's a budget for that and the government has been clear, we will operate within that budget," Harper said in parliament about the project.
The Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to form the backbone of the future US air fleet and 11 other allied countries have joined the program.
But defense officials have struggled to keep costs under control, with each plane's price tag doubling in real terms over the past decade.
Ottawa has budgeted Can$8.5 billion to buy 65 F-35 fighter jets plus another Can$7.5 billion for lifetime maintenance.
If the United States now buys fewer of the F-35 fighter jets, the price for each would further increase, and if Canada is not ready to spend more, it would have to scale back the number of jets it buys to stay within budget.
Defense Minister Peter MacKay earlier sidestepped questions about a possible reduction in the number of jets purchased.
But Canada's minister responsible for military procurement, Julian Fantino, told public broadcaster CBC on Monday when asked if he was open to reconsidering the purchase: "I think Canada, as with all other countries, has to be very much plugged into the environment, the economics of the day."
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Raytheon Restarts Production of Maverick for USAF and US Navy
Singapore (SPX) Feb 15, 2012
After more than two decades, Raytheon has formally restarted production of the laser-guided Maverick missile, with the first weapon expected to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force in late 2012. Production began following a rigorous U.S. Air Force and Navy Developmental Testing/Operational Testing program that culminated in a production contract in late 2011. "The combat-proven laser M ... read more
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