Berlin would be interested in the American AH-64E Apache helicopter .. since 2019!

In recent months, the program Tiger 3, bringing together France, Spain and Germany within the framework of permanent structured cooperation, or PESCO, since November 2019, encounter strong headwinds, Berlin is proving more and more difficult to convince to invest in the modernization of the European combat helicopter. Indeed, according to the Bundeswehr, the aircraft would be particularly difficult to maintain in operational condition, and would offer insufficient availability in view of the needs. Without ever questioning their own maintenance procedures and the role of the fleet format in the subject, Germany seemed, since, to be more and more openly interested in the helicopter Boeing AH-64E Apache, which would not go without posing major problems for France and potentially for Spain to develop their own devices.

To believe American journalist Gareth Jennings, Boeing would indeed have confirmed the interest of Germany for its combat helicopter, and would have even sent a request for information to the Seattle aircraft manufacturer. Problem, this request would have been sent before the Covid crisis, which let us recall the start in December 2019. Therefore, we understand that Berlin would have simultaneously committed within the framework of PESCO in November 2019 to develop the Tiger 3, and without saying anything about it. to its European partners, would have asked Boeing for information on the AH-64E Apache, at best at the same time, at worst before committing to Brussels with Paris and Madrid.

The Tiger 3 would offer new operational capabilities to the European combat helicopter allowing it to remain efficient beyond 2030

This naturally poses a major credibility problem with regard to the method adopted by Berlin in this dossier, but also in all the cooperation programs carried out with Paris and Madrid. Indeed, if the German authorities permanently reserve a way out from the United States, or other European partners (we think of the British Tempest program competing with SCAF), we understand why Berlin can be so intransigent in the face of France in these negotiations, and obtain, in fact, highly beneficial arrangements for its own industry, beyond what equity would justify. In addition, by running two hares at a time, the German authorities not only weaken the strength of the Franco-German partnership, but also the French armies themselves, which are banking on these programs without alternatives to plan their future rise.

We naturally think here of the MAWS program, which has stopped since Berlin announced its decision to acquire American P-8A Poseidon, leaving Paris with no obvious solution. What if this method were to be applied to SCAF, as one can imagine with the American NGAD or the British Tempest as an alternative, or to the MGCS program with Great Britain, Sweden and Italy knocking insistently on the door? , these programs could not only shoot entire sections of French industrial and technological capacities, but seriously undermine plans to modernize the armed forces, even as the security situation continues to deteriorate.

Berlin's choice of the P-8A Poseidon to replace part of its P-3Cs is a fatal blow to the Franco-German maritime patrol aircraft program MAWS

Finally, it should be noted that in the specific case of the Tiger 3, given the industrial sharing in the Tiger program itself, Paris and potentially Madrid would be forced to include German industrial partners for the modernization of their own devices, without any compensation. from Berlin, even though it is probable that Boeing will confer industrial compensation on its customer, especially since the latter could also place an order for 53 heavy transport helicopters. In any case, this revelation undoubtedly casts discredit on Germany's real wishes in terms of cooperation with France, and should call on the French authorities to revise their own commitments, or even to turn to others. partners, probably less fortunate, but much more reliable.

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