Germany refuses F-18s and buys 35 F-35 Lightning II – source
BERLIN, ($1=0.92 Euros) — Germany is preparing to place an order for the F-35 Lightning II fighter, manufactured by US-based Lockheed Martin. According to sources from the German government, Germany plans to replace its outdated Tornado fleet with 5th-gen stealth F-35 fighters, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing SavunmaSanayiST.com.
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Annegret Kramp-Karanbauer [CDU], the predecessor of German Defense Minister Lambrecht, has decided to replace the Tornado, which was inscribed in the German Air Force [Luftwaffe] inventory 40 years ago, with F-18 fighter jets during her tenure. However, the position of the new German government on the F-18 has changed in recent months.
Under the old plan, the German government will purchase 45 F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. These aircraft were to be used for electronic warfare missions and the destruction of enemy air defenses. 15 of these F-18s were expected to be in the Growler version. The Super Hornets were designed to perform SEAD / DEAD missions performed by Tornado fighter jets.
15 billion euros
It can be said that Germany’s goal is to replace the Tornado with the Eurofighter / F-35 Lightning II duo. Germany is hosting the United States’ nuclear weapons as part of NATO’s nuclear weapon-sharing program. The tornado is currently the only fighter capable of carrying US nuclear weapons based in Germany.
Germany is expected to buy up to 35 F-35s in total. According to German sources, a budget of 15 billion euros will be allocated for the fighter program, which will be chosen as the successor to Tornado.
France, on the other hand, is worried about buying the F-35 from Germany. The French are particularly concerned that Germany is leaving the Future Combat Air System [FCAS] program.
The historical steps of Germany
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made historic decisions after Russia invaded Ukraine. Scholz said he would set up a special fund of 100 billion euros for the needs of Germany’s defense. He also stressed that Germany would increase its defense spending to 2% of GDP.
Germany and nuclear sharing
Under NATO agreements, Germany is committed to carrying American nuclear bombs on its own aircraft in the event of war. The German Ministry of Defense is preparing to add new fighter jets with this capacity to the army.
At the Buchel base, the German Air Force has 45 Tornado fighter jets capable of carrying US nuclear bombs. The United States has about 20 B61 thermonuclear tactical bombs at Buchel Air Base in Germany. These bombs can be fired from a German tornado.
The debate over US nuclear deployment has escalated after CDU Secretary of Defense Annegret Kramp-Karenbauer announced plans to replace the old Tornado with 45 F-18s manufactured by Boeing and 93 Eurofighters manufactured by Airbus.