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Portugal Defence plans to create a Space Air Force

Portugal Defence plans to create a Space Air Force - portugal news
Portugal Defence plans to create a Space Air Force - Portugal Business News

Portugal news – Portugal Defence is planning its long-term transformation towards the creation of a Space Air Force, according to Air Force Chief of Staff, General Cartaxo Alves.


Portugal is planning the transformation of its Defence sector with especial emphasis on the fifth dimension, that is Cyberwarfare. This Cyberwarfare dimension is linked to the fourth dimension that is Space, as it enables the consolidation of cybersecurity processes required for communication protocols.


The transformation process of Portugal’s Defence sector is in line with the plans of other European partners, that is the transition from separate entities for the Air Force and the Space Force towards the creation of a Space Air Force, according to the Chief of Staff in a DN/TSF interview on April 12th.  


The creation of a Space Air Force will become possible when Portugal’s Defence sector transitions towards the fifth dimension, while advance Cyberwarfare technology is also linked to the replacement of existing aircraft.


The Portuguese Air Force, Força Aérea Portuguesa, is thus planning to transition from the F-16 to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets as part of a long-term transformation plan that is expected to be phased between 7 to 20 years. The transition process is deemed to be fundamental, and will also include the new KPC-390, which is a state-of-the-art aircraft, and the modernization of the P-3 fleet that Portugal is carrying out in Canada with General Dynamics, as well as increasing the existing fleet with planes from the German Navy.


Portugal recently had a workshop with Lockheed Martin and with the U.S. Air Force to learn how to transition to fifth generation operations. While the program for the transformation of Portugal’s Defence sector is expected to cost around 5.5 billion euros, the amount to be budgeted is to be phased over a period of 20 years. This means that the first plane is only expected to be delivered in the seventh year and the logistics for such a program will involve the other European partners.


Moreover, Portugal is planning to focus on the future attractiveness of the Air Force and is therefore working on the rehabilitation of the entire housing stock as well as the health centers that will be able to attract civilian doctors. The program includes a family component with leisure activities for children and breast milk extraction rooms to cater for the female personnel, since around 23.8% of the Portuguese Air Force staff is comprised of women.


It is expected that the long-term transformation of Portugal’s Defence sector, that includes new cutting-edge equipment, better remuneration and retirement plans, as well as improved working and health-care conditions, will increase the attractiveness of the sector in order to offset the current shortage of permanent personnel in the Air Force sector.  


While Portugal has long-term transformation plans for the creation of a Space Air Force, it is to be noted that Spain has already officially established a Space Command on January 9, 2024, in order to formalize its existing combined Air and Space Force structure.




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