The European President recently called for the formation of a ‘European Army’ in order for the continent to better face the growing threats on its doorstep from Moscow and others.
While Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposal was dismissed by key member states almost as soon as it was announced, might not the formation of a European Air Force gain more traction at a time of heightened security concerns and squeezed defence budgets? With the equipment costs of air forces typically eclipsing those of armies and navies in terms of procurement, operation, and sustainment, the benefits of pooling resources would make economic sense and military sese.
If the EU was to combine its defence spending, it would have USD69.3 billion to spend on its air force. The US Air Force receives USD154.1 billion, while the Russian Air Force will get USD11.3 billion (the ruble halved in value recently).
According to IHS Jane’s World Air Forces , the EU member states have approximately 1,370 fighters between them (as the EU Air Force is being billed as defensive, only aircraft with a predominantly air defence role have been counted), compared with 1,391 air defence fighters for the United States, and 1,276 combat aircraft for Russia
Practical and emotional reasons are against the creation of a European Air Force. Therefore, just like the proposed European Army, a European Air Force at this time would appear to be a non-starter to all but the most ardent of Europhiles.
The combined European army budget would be about US$200 billion and would have 1.55 million soldiers
The USA has 1.5 million active military personnel. Russia has about 800,000 active frontline military personnel.
SOURCES – IHS Janes, Wikipedia
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