German Defense Ministry’s position contradicts that of the Luftwaffe which said it prefers F-35 over Eurofighter
The ministry’s position appears to contradict that of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) which had indicated that its preference is the Lockheed Martin F-35, according to past media reports.
In fact a Luftwaffe official said at the International Fighter Conference on Nov. 8, 2017 that “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.”
The official added that “we need to start introducing successor in about 2025 to cover the Tornado retirement in 2030 – we need a five-year transition phase.”
Instead in a letter to a Greens lawmaker who had inquired about the deliberations, the ministry said the F-35 and Boeing’s F-15 and F/A-18 fighters were secondary options.
“The indicated view of the inspector of the air force that the F-35 Lightning II is an especially suitable successor to the Tornado system is not the position of the federal government,” Deputy Defence Minister Ralf Brauksiepe wrote in the letter.
Noteworthy, given that France and Germany are expanding their cooperation on defense and security and since they said earlier this year they would work together to develop a new European fighter, the ministry’s preference for the Typhoon is no surprise.
By contrast many German allies in Europe, including Norway, the Netherlands, Britain, Italy, Turkey and Denmark have selected the F-35 and some have received initial deliveries. Belgium is expected to make a decision next year.
Photo credit: Tim Felce via Wikipedia and U.S. Air Force
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com