According to a German Air Force official, the Lightning II can satisfy most of Germany’s requirements and offer other benefits as well
The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) has a shortlist of existing platforms to replace its Panavia Tornado fighter bombers from 2025 to 2030, but the service “preferred choice” is the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, a German Air Force official said at the International Fighter Conference on Nov. 8.
According to the same official in fact, the Lightning II can satisfy most of Germany’s requirements and offer other benefits as well.
“The Tornado replacement needs to be fifth-generation aircraft that can be detected as late as possible, if at all. It must be able to identify targets from a long way off and to target them as soon as possible.
“The German Ministry of Defence [MoD] is looking at several aircraft today, including the F-35 – it is commercially available already, has been ordered by many nations and is being introduced into service today, and has most of the capabilities required.”
As reported by Jane’s, Germany had previously engaged Airbus Defence and Space (DS) in defining the requirements for a future Tornado replacement under its Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme. However, the timelines involved of an anticipated retirement of the Tornado in about 2030 has caused the Luftwaffe to look instead at an already developed platform. As the official explained, “The timeframe suggests we need to start introducing successor in about 2025 to cover the Tornado retirement in 2030 – we need a five-year transition phase. That is only seven years away, and so it is very unlikely that industry could develop and introduce an entirely new aircraft type that fulfils the functionalities that we require. History show that the Eurofighter took 25 years before the first aircraft was introduced.”
Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane and Airman 1st Class Tristan Biese / U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com