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Germany boosts stealth strike capabilities with F-35 procurement

Germany boosts stealth strike capabilities with F-35 procurement

According to GlobalData, sources within the German government have confirmed the procurement of up to 35 F-35 jets as a replacement to the current Tornado fleet.

According to GlobalData, sources within the German government have confirmed the procurement of up to 35 F-35 jets as a replacement to the current Tornado fleet.

A fleet of F-35s will provide the Luftwaffe aircraft with much-needed stealth strike capabilities at a time of huge uncertainty and tension in Europe, according to Madeline Wild, associate defense analyst at GlobalData.

"The presence of another substantial F-35 fleet in central Europe Finland and Poland currently have aircraft on order will be reassuring for many smaller NATO states that are closer to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine," Wild said.

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"The decision, alongside monumental budgetary growth in Germany’s 'Bundeswehr' military, may also placate other NATO members concerned about Germany's prior lack of enthusiasm towards military growth historically, Germany has failed to spend anywhere near 2 per cent of its GDP on defence, as required by NATO."

Wild further explained that Germany is likely to acquire the F-35A, which along with the B and C variants, are not certified to carry the US’s B-61 nuclear bombs — despite this capability being a key feature of the Tornados the F-35s will replace.

"There had been questions over whether this would rule the F-35 out of the competition, however, the Tornados will remain in service until their phasing out begins in 2025," she said.

"This timeline buys the US time to maintain its German-based nuclear deterrent provided by the B-61 in the face of increasingly fraught and uncertain relations with Russia."

“Also announced by the German government was the decision to continue to develop the Eurofighter aircraft by improving its electronic warfare capabilities."

The Tornado replacement program was expected to consist of two platforms, one being the Eurofighter.

"The decision will be a blow for Boeing, which was the other key contender to replace Germany’s Tornados with its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The contract would have been a major source of revenue for the US company after a difficult few years," Wild concluded. 

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