The sale of 35 F-35 stealth fighters to Germany is in progress

WASHINGTON — Germany has received approval from the US government to purchase 35 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation stealth fighters. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency [DSCA] has notified Congress. This action starts the order that is already in progress.

The sale of 35 F-35 stealth fighters to Germany is in progress
Photo credit: Pixabay

8.4 billion USD is the approximate price of the order. The notice from DSCA reveals some details about an acquisition announced a few months ago that still needs to go through some procedures to become effective. The main content of the package requested by Germany is already known.

Germany buys 35 fighters and 37 engines for them [two spares]. 344 small diameter bombs, 162 penetrator bombs, 264 general purpose bombs, penetration bombs and inert bombs, air-to-air missiles, homing sections, and extended-range air-to-surface missiles are part of the armament of the German F-35, which is included in the order. Berlin is buying more direct attack munitions, tactical missiles, training missiles, and control guidance units.

German F-35s will be equipped with propulsion sections, telemetry systems, warheads and missile pods, laser detectors, onboard communication devices, cartridge actuated devices/propellant actuated devices [CAD/PAD], various radar devices, as well as electronic warfare systems.

Germany had no intention of buying the F-35. However, a series of events sharply changed the attitudes of politicians in the country. First, former Chancellor Angela Merkel retired and was replaced by Olaf Scholz, who is generally positive about his American partners.

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

The war in Ukraine changed not only the political situation in Europe but also the planned defense budgets. Many European countries are buying weapons systems that were not even planned for the next five years.

And last but not least – Germany is in the process of retiring its fleet of nuclear air carriers – the Tornado aircraft. The F-35s are an option that Berlin preferred. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that one of the countries storing nuclear missiles of the US Army in Europe is actually Germany. Combat capability must be preserved and increased, which is one of the reasons given by Olaf Scholz for the F-35 selection.

The F-35 has become a cornerstone in the dispute over the existence of the Future Combat Air System [FCAS] program, jointly developed by Spain and France. Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hocke even warned that the FCAS program developed jointly with France and Spain, would be invalidated if Berlin ended up acquiring American F-35 jets.

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

At FCAS, there are also tussles between Paris and Berlin over project management. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz showed that this European cooperation program is an “absolute priority” and the reaction against the Russian invasion of Ukraine contributes to its consolidation.

The American companies that profit mainly from the sale of the above-mentioned lot around the F-35 are Lockheed Martin, as the manufacturer of the aircraft; Pratt & Whitney, responsible for the engines, Boeing and Raytheon, as the rocket supplier.

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