Italian Air Force Tanker Program Suspended

In November 2022, news spread (here is our article) that the Italian Air Force would acquire 6 new KC-46 tankers to replace the current 4 KC-767A. This news was widely welcomed, as the Italian tanker fleet was already considered too small for the country’s needs.

However, yesterday brought a shock. In a note dated June 24, the Ministry of Defense announced the suspension of the A/R Program called “Renewal, Enhancement, and Integrated Logistic Support of the Heavy Multirole Tanker Line of the Italian Air Force.”

In short, “due to changed and unforeseen needs, the Air Force General Staff requested the suspension of the procedure,” effectively canceling the planned acquisition.

The value of the program was $1.3 billion.

This leaves two questions: what are the “changed and unforeseen needs” (are there more urgent new spending priorities? If so, what are they?), and whether the tanker replacement program is only postponed or completely canceled (will Boeing still be in the running in the future, or might Airbus enter the picture?).

Only time will provide the answer.

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