The German government announced on 14 March that it will purchase 35 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter aircraft to replace its aging Tornado fleet. German Defence Secretary Christine Lambrecht decided to procure the F-35 aircraft from the U.S. after considering other available options.
The German Air Force (Luftwaffe) currently operates 93 Panavia Tornado aircraft for strike missions, electronic warfare, nuclear delivery, and tactical reconnaissance.
In a statement Christine Lambrecht said:
“The F-35 offers a unique potential for cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in Europe. As the most modern combat aircraft currently available, the aircraft will also remain assertive in future scenarios. Possible missions in the context of national and alliance defense must always be kept in mind. The current security policy situation in particular has shown how essential this is.
The F-35 is the right system for credible alliance capability and deterrence. For the electronic warfare component, the Ministry of Defense relies on the further development of the Eurofighter weapon system.
This means that important key technology in Germany and Europe will be preserved and further promoted. In addition, we are securing a strong German role in the Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The Next Generation Fighter (NGF) is to gradually replace the Eurofighter from 2040.
With the decision for two aircraft types, we are sticking with the two-fleet concept in the long term, which has proven itself in the Air Force for decades and makes an important contribution to the operational readiness and resilience of the combat aircraft fleet.”
Generalleutnant Ingo Gerhartz, Inspector of the Luftwaffe said:
“The F35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world. The decision to procure this jet strengthens our ability together with our partners to secure the NATO airspace and defend the alliance. Along with the development of the Eurofighter for electronic combat, we are taking an important step in preparing the Luftwaffe for the future.”
F-35 Multirole Fighter Aircraft
|Stealth multirole fighter aircraft||Lockheed Martin|
|Country of origin:||First flight:|
|United States||December 2006|
|United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Israel||1|
|Mach 1.6||1,500 nmi|
|1 × Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 afterburning turbofan||Length: 15.7 m; wingspan: 13.1 m; height: 4.6 m|
|1 × 25 mm GAU-22/A 4-barrel rotary cannon; 4 × internal stations, 6 × external stations on wings||AN/APG-81 AESA Radar; Electronic Systems AN/AAQ-37 Distributed Aperture System (DAS) missile warning system; AN/ASQ-239 (Barracuda) electronic warfare system; Harris Corporation Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL) communication system|