The State Secretary for Defence [Spanish acronym: SEDEF], Agustín Conde, has reported to the Lower House of Parliament Defence Committee on the status of the Special Weapons Programmes and the outlook for meeting the expenditure commitments this year.
The State Secretary began his informative report by detailing the current status of the 11 ongoing Special Weapons Programmes, regarding which he stated that their importance "surpasses the scope of the Ministry of Defence due to their impact not only on military issues but also on those of an industrial, employment and regional cohesion nature".
Agustín Conde then explained the 12 completed programmes with payments pending, laid out the forecasts for meeting expenditure commitments in 2017 and concluded with Defence Budget performance details at 31 July 2016.
As explained by the Minister for Defence, María Dolores de Cospedal, to the Defence Committee on 20 December, Agustín Conde reiterated that "the Ministry of Defence is firmly committed to settling those payments that could not be made in 2016 under the Special Weapons Programmes during the course of 2017, as a result of the ruling from the Constitutional Court, the amount of which totals 716.8 million euros".
The State Secretary for Defence believes that the ideal way to finance the annual payments from the Special Weapons Programmes is that the expending to this end should be provided for in the corresponding General State Budget Acts to avoid application of the Decree-Law method used up until 2015.
Agustín Conde recalled that the Council of Ministers agreed on 9 December to raise the limit for making expenditure commitments for future years to 1.82 billion euros and settling the unpaid amounts corresponding to 2016. Hence, the 716.8 million euros from last year would be defrayed and the 1.11 billion from this year would be covered.
"This measure would fall in line with the commitment made at the 2014 Wales Summit by the Heads of State and Government of the 28 NATO Member States to increase their defence budgets up to a figure equal to 2% of the gross domestic product of their respective nations within a decade", he added.
Special Weapons Programmes
Special Weapons Programmes were launched in the 1990s to modernise and provide the Armed Forces with the weapons systems necessary for effective development of the national and international missions assigned to Spain, enabling the Armed Forces to generate industrial and technological capabilities that Spain lacked and enhance the national defence industry sector.
The Special Weapons Programmes have a series of specific characteristics that distinguish them from other procurement programmes. These include the fact they are defrayed via a pre-financing system by a body unrelated to the Ministry of Defence (Ministry of Industry, Tourism and the Digital Agenda), the fact that they are highly complex given the long definition and implementation periods, and the fact that they have a strong technology impact, mobilise a large volume of financial resources and significantly involve the domestic industrial sector.
At present, there are 11 Special Weapons Programmes under way: the Pizarro tracked combat vehicle; the 8x8 wheeled combat vehicle; the Tigre combat helicopter; the NH-90 helicopter; the S-80 submarine; the series 1 offshore patrol vessel extension; the F-100 frigates; the Eurofighter EF-2000 combat aircraft; the A400M transport aircraft; the Spike-LR missile and the CIS UME hubs.