Italy freezes new EFA work

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The Independent Online
ROME (Reuter) - Italy announced yesterday that it had suspended development of the European Fighter Aircraft (EFA), the dollars 30bn ( pounds 17.5bn) project beleaguered since Germany pulled out of the four-nation partnership.

The Defence Minister, Salvo Ando, released the text of a letter dated 10 October to the chief of staff of the Italian air force ordering a freeze on all new contracts to develop the plane, as well as holding down existing costs.

The letter said the move would help the Italian 'defence establishment carry out a fuller evaluation of investment possibilities in the light of available funds'. Germany, Britain, Spain and Italy had undertaken to develop the EFA as a fighter for the 21st century.