Spain's 2004 defence procurement budget is set to rise 5.3% to €1.7 billion ($2 billion), but nevertheless continues the slide in defence spending as the funds represent just 0.86% of Spain's gross domestic product, the lowest in a decade.

Although the Spanish air force will receive only €928 million, down from €1.16 billion this year, aircraft programmes account for almost two-thirds of the procurement money, with €370 million earmarked for the Eurofighter Typhoon, €1 million for the Airbus Military A400M transport, and €4.5 million for the Eurocopter Tiger anti-tank helicopter. However, these programmes receive funds from the science and technology ministry, which finances some of Spain's military equipment modernisation projects.

Defence ministry funds are allocated in 2004 for the last two of nine EADS Casa C295s, modernisation of the Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion, upgrading the Boeing EF-18 Hornet, modernising the engine, avionics and navigation systems of the Northrop F-5 light fighter and for modernisation of the navy's Boeing AV-8B Harriers to AV-8B Plus standard.

The navy will finalise the purchase in 2004 of its six new Sikorsky Seahawk SH-60B LAMPS III helicopters and will modernise its 12 Sikorsky SH-3D Sea Kings. Research and development funds drop 10% in 2004 compared to this year's budget to €169.4 million.

Source: Flight International