The Italian Almanac

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F 35

Downsizing

Italy will cut its military personnel by 33,000 over the next 10 years and plans to scale back its order of F-35 fighter planes by a third, Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola said. The defence cuts are part of efforts by Premier Mario Monti's government to put Italy's public finances in order and steer the country out of its debt crisis.

Di Paola told the a joint session of the Senate and House defence committees that the number of Italian servicemen and servicewomen will be cut to 150,000 from the current level of 183,000. He added that the number of civilian personnel employed by the armed forces would also go down, from 30,000 to 20,000. He said there will be significant reductions in the number of military bases, tanks, helicopters and submarines too and a cut of over 30% in the number of generals and admirals.

"There will be a mayor plan of divestments of infrastructure and real estate as a contribution to the reorganization of the defence ministry and participation in the wider effort to heal the country's finances," said Di Paola. Italy's order of Lockheed Martin's radar-evading F-35 fighter will be cut to 90 from the 131 the country agreed to buy in 2002.

Italy's state-owned defence company Finmeccanica is involved in the project to build the F-35.