Germany procures 35 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35A Lightning II aircraft

Germany procures 35 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35A Lightning II aircraft

By Dario Leone
Dec 15 2022
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The German Ministry of Defense announced on Dec. 14, 2022 it is procuring 35 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

The F-35 Lightning II continues to be the choice of air forces across Europe.

The German Ministry of Defense announced on Dec. 14, 2022 it is procuring 35 Lockheed Martin 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

“Congratulations to Germany on procuring the F-35A. Germany is the ninth foreign military sales country to join the program,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Schmidt, F-35 Program Executive Officer, in a Lockheed Martin news release. “We look forward to working with them to deliver the F-35 Air System to meet their national defense requirements.”

The agreement includes a comprehensive package of engines, role-specific mission equipment, spare and replacement parts, technical and logistic support, training and armament.

“It is an honor to formally welcome Germany to the F-35 Lightning II Program. Germany’s participation ensures the F-35’s European alliance continues to strengthen and grow through interoperability with NATO and ally nations,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “The F-35 is the most advanced, survivable, best value fighter giving pilots the critical advantage against any adversary, enabling them to execute their mission and safely return home.”

Lockheed Martin has been a committed partner to the Bundeswehr for more than 50 years, and the F-35 opens another chapter of supporting Germany’s interests for national and European security. By the 2030s, it is expected that over 550 F-35s will work together from more than 10 European countries, including two full US F-35 squadrons at RAF Lakenheath.

F-35A print
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

As a cornerstone for interoperability with NATO, the F-35 is the only 5th Generation fighter available today to strengthen Germany’s operational capability with allies. Connectivity has become increasingly more important as the battlespace continues to evolve, and the F-35 is positioned to play a critical role in that change and contribute to 21st Century Security missions.

As already reported, the F-35 buy is a blow for Boeing, whose F-18 was favoured by former German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to replace the Tornado.

In April 2020 in fact then German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told the US government that Berlin has given clearance for the Luftwaffe to acquire 45 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. The service planned to replace 90 Panavia Tornado Interdiction and Strike (IDS)/Electronic Combat Reconnaissance (ECR) aircraft with 85 new platforms from 2025.

The 30 F/A-18E/F multirole and 15 EA-18G electronic attack (EA) jets would have enabled the Luftwaffe to fulfill its airborne nuclear strike and EA requirements within the required timeframe. The remaining 40 aircraft would comprise additional Eurofighters to add to the 143 already in service (of these, 38 early Tranche 1 aircraft are set to be replaced by the same number of Tranche 3 aircraft under Project Quadriga).

The decision to go with the F-35 could also upset France. As already reported in 2019 in fact defence officials eliminated the F-35 from the competition to replace the Tornado because picking an American plane would weaken the case for having such weapons be made by European companies in the future such as the Future Combat Air Systems (FCAS) program [that as the New Generation Fighter (NGF) should be ready in the 2040s], led by Airbus and Dassault.

To date, the F-35 operates from 26 bases worldwide, with nine nations operating F-35s on their home soil. There are more than 875 F-35s in service today, with more than 1,845 pilots and 13,350 maintainers trained on the aircraft.

Photo credit: IHS Markit / Gareth Jennings

Lockheed F-35 Lightning II model
This model is available from AirModels! CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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  1. Clay says:

    If this us marine has to be prosecuted why is Hillary Clinton not in prison for selling the plans for one of our air force jets a airforce general said that was our jet down to the last rivet

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