Germany to Buy 35 F-35 Fighters from the U.S. to Replace Its Tornado Fleet

Germany confirmed the purchase of 35 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets to replace its aging Tornado fleet. The announcement marks the first big move since Scholz pledged an additional €100 billion to the country’s annual defense budget following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

German Ministry of Defense initiated the purchase of F-35s in the role of nuclear sharing after “looking thoroughly into all available options.”

Germany’s Tornado is the only jet capable of carrying U.S. nuclear bombs, which are stored in Germany, in case of a conflict. But it’s been used since the 1980s, and Berlin is planning to phase it out between 2025 and 2030.

The ministry of defense believes F-35 offers unique opportunities for cooperation with both NATO and other European allies, underlining that many other allies have ordered the stealth fighter.

Germany also plans to buy 15 Eurofighters equipped for electronic warfare, a capability yet to be developed by Airbus.

Germany’s decision culd upset France, who hoped the development of a joint Franco-German fighter could be ready in the 2040s. To ease French concerns, Scholz stressed his continued support for the joint fighter programme.

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