A classified briefing on F-15 and F/A-18E/F fighter bombers will take place in mid-November, following a similar briefing provided by U.S. officials about the Lockheed Martin F-35 strike fighter in July
A letter sent by the German defense ministry’s planning division, reviewed by Reuters, said it had identified these aircraft as potential candidates to replace the Tornado strike aircraft, which entered service in 1981.
Boeing is currently working with the U.S. government to provide the information that Germany had requested.
A classified briefing is scheduled to take place in mid-November, following a similar briefing provided by U.S. officials about the Lockheed Martin F-35 strike fighter in July.
Moreover the ministry is also seeking information from Airbus, which builds the Eurofighter Typhoon along with Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo.
Germany, which is due to take a decision in mid-2018 about how to replace the Tornados, announced plans in July to build a new European fighter bomber together with France. However the new aircraft is unlikely to be available by 2025, when Germany’s fleet of Tornado fighter bombers are slated to start going out of service.
Sources familiar with the process said Germany was pursuing a two-pronged approach under which it would buy an existing fighter to replace the Tornado, while working with France on a new European jet to replace its Eurofighters at a later point.
The development is a boost for Boeing at a time when it is under fire from Canada and Britain after its complaint prompted the U.S. to impose a preliminary 220-percent duty on Bombardier C Series passenger aircraft.
In fact Britain told Boeing this week that future defense contracts could be in jeopardy because of its trade dispute with Canada’s Bombardier, noting that U.S. tariffs would put up to 4,200 jobs at risk at a plant in the British province of Northern Ireland that makes the C Series jet’s carbon wings.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also said he will not go ahead with plans to buy 18 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet jets unless the dispute is dropped.
Nevertheless any move by Germany to buy a U.S. warplane could run into political resistance from strong labor unions and Airbus, which has also raised concerns about the ministry’s plans to choose between two U.S. helicopters for its heavy lift program.
Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and Italy — key NATO allies of Germany — are already buying the F-35 fighter jet to replace their current aircraft, and other European countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and Finland are also looking at purchasing the fifth-generation stealth warplane at time when tensions with Russia are running high.
Photo credit: Senior Airman Damon Kasberg / U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com