F-35C and F/A-18E Super Hornet

The “F-35 is one of many options (German Air Force is) exploring,” German Defence Ministry spokesman

A German one-star general was given a briefing by U.S. officials in Bonn earlier this week regarding the Foreign Military Sales process for acquiring the F-35 stealth fighter, Reuters reported.

The Luftwaffe (German Air Force) in fact is looking to replace its aging Tornado fighter jets and is due to decide in mid-2018 about whether to start a new fighter development program or buy an existing fighter.

Confirming the two-day meeting, a German Defence Ministry spokesman said the “F-35 is one of many options (Germany is) exploring.”

As we have previously reported the Luftwaffe asked the U.S. military in May for a classified briefing on the F-35 fighter jet as part of an “in-depth evaluation of market available solutions.”

The country interest in the F-35 took some European defense industry officials by surprise, given a big push by European aerospace giant Airbus and other European defense companies to develop a next-generation European fighter.

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However Lockheed, that is already building the F-35 fighter for several other NATO allies (including the U.S., U.K., Italy, Turkey, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark) also plans to provide the German defense ministry with information about opportunities for German industry to participate in the F-35 program, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

“This meeting is consistent with the standard Foreign Military Sales process where we explain the path to F-35 acquisition and provide a top-level F-35 capabilities brief,” F-35 program office spokesman Joe DellaVedova pointed out.

The German Defence Ministry spokesman added that a letter of request for information will be delivered to the Pentagon this summer for Boeing’s F-15, F/A-18 and Lockheed’s F-35.

Moreover it will also gather information from Airbus about its work on a next-generation weapons system, he concluded.

Noteowirthy the F-35 is seen as the leading contender in a Belgian fighter competition that includes the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Dassault Aviation Rafale, while Sweden’s SAAB and Boeing have withdrawn from that tender.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell and Boeing

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