Will the F-35 hypothesis reappear in Germany?

The new ruling coalition in Germany published yesterday coalition agreement which constitutes the global contract around which the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals have agreed to govern the country together. The 177-page document deals with many aspects of economic, social, environmental and international politics. Unlike the general policy speech presented by each new French government, this coalition agreement constitutes a firm commitment on which the government coalition has agreed and committed, and every paragraph, every word has been underweighted. The defense dimension is naturally dealt with there, as is the European dimension of this dossier. However, many elements contained in this text, as well as related recent events, suggest that Olaf Scholtz and his allies are, if not committed, at least open to re-evaluating the hypothesis of the acquisition of F- 35 for the Luftwaffe to replace part of its Tornado.

Recall that in March 2020, Angela Merkel's government arbitrated in favor of the acquisition of 90 Typhoons as well as 45 F / A 18 E / F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler of the American Boeing to replace the 85 or so Panavia Tornados still in service with the Luftwaffe, as well as the first Typhoon batches, the modernization of which was deemed too expensive to bring them to the multi-mission standard of tranche 3B. This announcement had made a lot of turmoil within NATO et across the Atlantic, who still favor the acquisition of F-35A instead of the Super Hornets and Growlers, in order to ensure the anti-aircraft defenses removal missions and especially the nuclear strike missions within the framework of NATO. But Angela Merkel shared the opinion of Emmanuel Macron and the French authorities, according to which the arrival of the F-35 in Germany would ultimately constitute a threat to the smooth running of the new generation SCAF fighter program.

In order to replace the Tornado dedicated to nuclear strike missions within the framework of NATO, Berlin had announced that it would favor the acquisition of F / A 18 E / F Super Hornet

It should also be remembered that, for the time being, the only devices qualified for implement the new nuclear bomb B-61-12, the very one that will replace the mk4 and mk7 nuclear bombs currently used by the Belgian, Dutch and Turkish F-16s, and by the German and Italian Tornados within the framework of NATO, are the F-35A and the F-15E Strike Eagle. The Super Hornet cannot carry this ammunition, and to date, no qualification campaign of the device has been announced by the American authorities. In fact, Angela Merkel's choice to favor the Super Hornet and the Growler against the F-35A was a potentially risky bet, which could lead Germany to be excluded, if not definitively, at least temporarily, from sharing missions. NATO nuclear power. The subject was all the more sensitive once the legislative elections had passed, since the formation of a coalition included the traditionally anti-nuclear German Greens, leaving fear of hostile positions of Berlin on this subject. The negotiations have therefore been intense in recent days, and the allusion by Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, to thehas the possibility for the Alliance to move some of these nuclear bombs controlled by the system of double keys, one in the hands of the United States, the other of the government of the air forces which transport the ammunition, probably appeared without context.

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