08/09/2022 |

Italy races to rearmament even after its Parliament’s dissolution

Programmes amounting to 1 billion € already approved in August, 6 billion for new weapons now under discussion

By Enrico Piovesana
Originally published at Osservatorio Sulle Spese Militari Italiane Milex

Military expenditure, in particular the funds for the acquisition of new weapon systems, does not shut down after the government crisis: since the dissolution of the parliament (which took place on July 21), Defence Minister Guerini has submitted more than twenty rearmament programmes to parliamentary scrutiny, with a total multi-year investment for the first confirmed phases exceeding 12.5 billion euro. The total expenditure of the following phases of the programmes, which have already been outlined but not yet subjected to vote, could cost more than 22 billion euro over the course of the various projects. These decisions, which commit funds to future state budgets, are proposed and discussed with an Executive that should only ensure ‘the carrying out of current affairs’, while waiting for new elections.

Five programs (ballistic missile defence, Predator drones, Carabinieri helicopters, airborne reconnaissance systems, anti-tank guided missiles) were presented to the Italian Parliament on July 26 and quickly (and unanimously) approved by the Senate and Chamber of Deputies Defence Committees on August 2 and 3 respectively for a total multi-year expenditure of almost one billion euro.

Six more programs (new patrol boats and minehunters for the Navy, modernization of helicopters for the Navy, anti-aircraft missiles, modernization of destroyers for the Navy, and tanks for the Army) were presented by the Ministry between August 3 and 10 and scheduled for examination in the Defence Committee of the Chamber of Deputies from September 8 with a total multi-year expenditure of more than 6 billion euro.

Further ten programs (training helicopters, drone management, amphibious ships for the Navy, radio transmissions, reconnaissance satellites, bazookas, a stratospheric platform system, surveillance drones, capacity-building of tactical brigades, new light tanks) were finally submitted to parliament by Minister Guerini on September 1, only a few days ago, for a total multi-year expenditure of more than 5.5 billion euro. It is unclear whether the competent parliamentary Committees will be able to schedule (mandatory) opinions on these government acts in the few remaining days of the 18th Legislature.

Among the several requests for new weapon systems made after the dissolution of the parliament, it also appears the request for the modernization and renewal of a SICRAL3 satellite system submitted only a few days earlier (July 11) for an equivalent of 345 million euro. During 2022, again unanimously, positive votes were given in favour of armament programmes that were registered in 2021 but discussed the following year for a total approved equivalent to almost 4 billion euro (for missile batteries, destroyer ships, armoured vehicles, amphibious armoured vehicles, tanks…) and a total sum of approximately 7.3 billion euro.