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Germany Chooses F-35 As Tornado Successor

Library image of an (Italian) F-35A on QRA standby at Ämari Air Base in Estonia, May 2021 [© Bob Morrison]

A decision has been made by the German Bundeswehr about the successor to the TORNADO weapon system with the F-35 announced as successor.


Bundeswehr Press Release, 14 March 2022: [auto-translated] On March 14, 2022, the [German] Ministry of Defence informed Parliament about the decision to succeed the TORNADO weapon system. After carefully considering all available options, Secretary of Defence Christine Lambrecht decided to initiate the procurement of the F-35 aircraft type via a so-called Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process in the USA for the task of nuclear sharing. The electronic combat role is to be safeguarded by the further development of the EUROFIGHTER weapon system. “The F-35 offers unique potential for cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in Europe,” said the minister.”

Background: The Bundeswehr currently still has 93 TORNADOS, which are used for nuclear participation, electronic combat (ECR – Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance), air attack and tactical reconnaissance. The TORNADO, which is getting on in years, now has to be replaced. The F-35 offers a unique potential for cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in Europe. As the most modern combat aircraft currently available, the aircraft will also remain assertive in future scenarios. Possible missions in the context of national and alliance defence must always be kept in mind. The current security policy situation in particular has shown how essential this is. The F-35 is the right system for credible alliance capability and deterrence.

For the electronic warfare component, the Ministry of Defence relies on the further development of the EUROFIGHTER weapon system. This means that important key technology in Germany and Europe will be preserved and further promoted. In addition, we are securing a strong German role in the future FCAS system. The Next Generation Fighter (NGF) designed there is to gradually replace the EUROFIGHTER from 2040. With the decision for two aircraft types, we are sticking with the two-fleet concept in the long term, which has proven itself in the Air Force for decades and makes an important contribution to the operational readiness and resilience of the combat aircraft fleet.


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