Accelerated timeline to get Germany’s F-35 deal signed off

BERLIN ($1=0.95 Euros) — The US company Lockheed Martin is on an accelerated timeline to quickly sign a deal with Germany to acquire the F-35 Lightning II, wrote Gareth Jennings, an aviation journalist reporting on all aspects of international military aerospace and broader defense issues on his Twitter account.

Future F-35's AIM-132 Block 6 missile has new British-built seeker
Photo: MBDA UK

According to Jennings, 128 F-35 Lightning II fighters are currently flying in Europe under EUCOM command and are expected to reach 550 by the end of this decade. Jennings recalls that in recent years the F-35 program partners have made significant progress in positioning the aircraft where it is now and Germany will get a very good deal with its acquisition. Jennings says Berlin needs to think about its defense and invest not only in the F-35 but also in artillery, such as tanks and artillery.

“Learn the lesson of Tornado,” writes Jennings, appealing to German society. Bulgarianmilitary.com recalls that the German government has made a sharp turn in the F-35 and instead of buying the F-18 decided to focus on the acquisition of a fifth-generation stealth fighter. Sources say that 35 F-35 units should replace the obsolete Tornado planes as carriers of nuclear weapons.

Italy will assemble 24 of the 36 Swiss F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters
Photo credit: Il Manifesto

Most likely, the future F-35 of the German Air Force [Luftwaffe] will be located at the air base in Büchel, Germany, and after the signing of the deal, Berlin is expected to receive the entire ordered quantity by the end of 2030.

What happened?

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 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.

Accelerated timeline to get Germany's F-35 deal signed off
Photo credit: AviacionLine

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.

Because of B61 nuclear bombs

Germany has nuclear weapons, and these are B61 nuclear bombs carried by bombers or aicraft capable of carrying nuclear bombs, such as the F-35.

The B61-12 thermonuclear bomb belongs to the B61 family. B61 is the main thermonuclear gravitational bomb of the United States, actively developed amid the Cold War with the Eastern blog close to the USSR.

According to the characteristics known to the general public, B61 has the possibility of a complete explosion, ie. a full range of ignition and delivery options, whether by air or ground. The B61 is capable of reaching supersonic flight speeds. The dimensions of the thermonuclear bomb are 3.56 m long, 33 cm in diameter, and a total weight of about 320 kg. Military experts say that depending on the B61 version, the weight can vary.

United States is turning the F-35 into a nuclear bomber
B6-12 nuclear bomb, photo credit: Bend Bulletin

The latest modification of the B61 is the B61 Mod 12 or B61-12. One of the tests of the B61 Mod 12 at the very beginning of its development showed that this thermonuclear bomb can penetrate underground and reach an equivalent ability to explode on the surface of weapons from 750 kilotons to 1.25 megatons.

Experts say that “underground penetration” was not planned, but it is good news, as B61 Mod 12 could become a successful replacement for B61 Mod 11, whose main function is underground penetration. The B61 Mod 11 is expected to be decommissioned by the end of 2030.

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