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Germany orders fleet of F-35 fighters

The NATO member is the latest to opt in to the global F-35 Lightning program.  

The NATO member is the latest to opt in to the global F-35 Lightning program.  

The German Ministry of Defence has officially placed an order for 35 Lockheed Martin-built F-35 Lightning II aircraft. 

The deal includes the provision of engines, role-specific mission equipment, spare and replacement parts, technical and logistic support, training and armament.


The official order comes just months after the US State Department approved the US$8.4 billion (AU$12 billion) foreign military sale.

The F-35 fleet is expected to replace the Luftwaffe’s retiring Panavia Tornado multi-role combat aircraft.  

“Congratulations to Germany on procuring the F-35A. Germany is the ninth foreign military sales country to join the program,” Lieutenant General Michael Schmidt, F-35 program executive officer, said.

We look forward to working with them to deliver the F-35 Air System to meet their national defence requirements.

Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program, welcomed Germany to the global program.

It is an honour to formally welcome Germany to the F-35 Lightning II Program,” she said.

Germany's participation ensures the F-35’s European alliance continues to strengthen and grow through interoperability with NATO and ally nations.  

The F-35 is the most advanced, survivable, best value fighter giving pilots the critical advantage against any adversary, enabling them to execute their mission and safely return home.”

By the 2030s, over 550 F-35s are expected to be operated from more than 10 European countries, including two full US F-35 squadrons at RAF Lakenheath.

The F-35 operates from 26 bases around the world, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil.

The Royal Australian Air Force is among the cohort of nations operating the fifth-generation fighter jet, with the current size of the fleet totalling 54.

The Commonwealth government has ordered 72 F-35A aircraft under the $16.6 billion Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) contract with Lockheed Martin.

The JSF program has delivered two operational squadrons. 

All 72 jets are expected to be fully operational by 2023, with an option to expand the fleet to a maximum of 100 aircraft.  

Thus far, RAAF F-35A aircraft have clocked over 15,000 flight hours.

[Related: US greenlights $12bn German F-35 request ]

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