Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/01/2014 -- We expect Italy's defence budget to reach US$27.2bn for 2014. By 2017, we expect the defence budget to have increased modestly to US$27.6bn, before it finishes the forecast period in 2018 at a level of US $28.4bn. Like several of its counterparts in the alliance, Italy spends below NATO's non-binding requirement that its members spend a minimum of 2% of GDP annually on defence.
In mid-January 2014, Mario Mauro, Italy's defence minister, warned that the country continues to face threats from illegal migration and called upon the United States to take a more active role in fighting Islamic extremism in the Mediterranean region. Mauro spoke of his belief of a link between criminal organisations facilitating illegal migration and the funding of terrorism in the Mediterranean and abroad.
In terms of defence modernisation, Italy's first Tranche-3 Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft was rolled out in early March 2014. Italy is expected to receive a total of 21 Tranche-3A aircraft. Moreover, the Italian Air Force has commenced combat operations with its MQ-9 Reaper Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles in Afghanistan as of January 2014. Regarding upgrades, the Italian Air Force is planning a series of modifications to its G550 aerial early warning aircraft. These aircraft are currently being manufactured and are expected to be delivered from 2015. It has not been revealed what these modifications will be. Regarding naval procurement, Italy has announced that it will purchase up to ten large surface combatants over the next decade. The procurement of the new vessels is expected to cost up to US$7.8bn and will focus in the acquisition of a multipurpose design which can be used for war-fighting and also to support humanitarian operations.
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