German Aerospace Industry: the F-35’s purchase was a mistake

BERLIN ($1=0.96 Euros) — The war in Ukraine and the Russian invasion on February 24 changed the strategic thinking of some European countries. Germany, which before the war had a rather passive armament policy, now has other plans. These plans include the purchase of US Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters.

F-35 Lightning II fighter jet
Photo by Lance cpl. Jose S.Guerrero Deleon

Germany has already announced its intentions to acquire the F-35. This happened in March this year, when Berlin made the final decision, the American flagship to replace the German Eurofighter Typhoon. Around the same time, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict caused Berlin to announce nearly $113 billion in military modernization, including American fighter jets.

Today, the decisions taken by the Minister of Defense Mrs. Christine Lambrecht, and the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz are considered a mistake. And this suspicion does not come from society. As a slap in the face, this opinion comes from the German defense industry and the association of the German aerospace industry [BDLI].

Berlin has struck a deal with Washington in which German companies will not take part in the maintenance, refurbishment, or servicing of the planes. All the money goes to the USA, and some other European country [ thinks of Italy for example] will take over the service and maintenance of the fighters.

BDLI even gave an example that recent F-35 purchases negotiated with various European countries will receive local maintenance contracts. Even Switzerland, which is generally not such an active participant in international arms markets, managed to negotiate a $3 billion contract to service its aircraft.

Spanish and German Eurofighters in Estonia begin alert missions
Photo credit: Luftwaffe

The German publication Wirtschaft has published its latest report, which says that this order is a blow to the German arms industry. BDLI even commented on the actions of the German government and criticized it, noting that in Berlin they did not even think of an option in which the native local production would participate.

One of the major players in aviation, Airbus also expressed its opinion. According to Wolfgang Schöder, managing director of Airbus Helicopters, such actions by the government threaten not only the existence of the domestic defense industry but also the technologies that have been developed locally in recent decades.

Schoeder made the announcement amid the fact that Berlin is ready to spend more than $16 billion on the F-35 and new CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.

Criticisms against Berlin’s decisions are harsh, and according to several analysts – more than deserved. The BDLI, together with the German arms industry behind their backs, say that it is not only a matter of maintaining and updating foreign developments but also of the lack of a strategic defense policy. Because, according to calculations, about 30% will go to acquire American aircraft, and about 70% of the money will be distributed over the years for their maintenance.


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