Will Germany limit itself to 35 F-35As for its Luftwaffe?

Without surprise, the German Chancellery has therefore announced, within the framework of its program to revitalize its armed forces, the acquisition of 35 F-35A combat aircraft from the American Lockheed-Martin to ensure NATO's nuclear sharing mission of which Berlin is one of the 5 pillars with Ankara, Amsterdam, Brussels and Rome, alongside 15 aircraft from electronic warfare and suppression of opposing air defenses Typhoon ECR of the European consortium Eurofighter bringing together Germany, Spain, Italy and Great Britain, in order to replace the Tornado ECR which ensured this mission until now. Beyond signing the end of production of the F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet and the EA-18G Growler from Boeing, which were initially to be ordered to carry out these same missions, this expected decision from Berlin, as formatted and presented , raises many questions about the future of European defense cooperation.

Firstly, and to cut short any pointless controversy, it is important to remember that, in this case, Berlin ultimately had few alternatives apart from actually ordering American F-35As, the only aircraft qualified for enforce the new American B-61Mod12 nuclear bomb which will soon be in service within the framework of nuclear sharing within the alliance. The bet made by Angela Merkel to announce the order of Super Hornet and Growler, precisely not to order F-35A, failed since the Pentagon did not include the Boeing plane in its qualification program for this ammunition. In fact, to remain in the club of nations integrated into NATO's nuclear sharing, Berlin had no other choice but to abandon the Super Hornet and turn to the F-35A. In doing so, it became unthinkable to acquire and implement a micro fleet of 15 EA-18G Growlers to replace the Tornado ECRs of the Luftwaffe, and the choice of a specialized version of the Typhoon, also offered by Airbus DS, 3 years ago, takes on its full meaning. Finally, at no time was the French Rafale considered as an alternative in this case, since the couple formed by the Rafale and the ASMPA nuclear missile is not integrated into NATO's nuclear sharing, and Berlin does not has no interest in acquiring French aircraft of this type when it can acquire Typhoons produced by its own industry.

Berlin originally chose Boeing's EA-18G Growler as a replacement for its electronic warfare Tornado ECRs

Beyond seeing the list of new defense equipment that Berlin is preparing to order, including American fighters, heavy helicopters, anti-aircraft systems and new infantry fighting vehicles, all for €48 billion i.e. half of the €100 billion envelope announced for this transformation, it is especially relevant to note what is not there, in this case the 60 Typhoon Tranche IV that the Luftwaffe was to order to replace its Tornado IDS dedicated to air strike missions. Of the approximately 90 Typhoons to be ordered to replace the Tier I Typhoons and Tornadoes, only 27 were actually ordered, and the remaining aircraft could reasonably be expected to be ordered on this occasion. In addition, while the Luftwaffe will finally receive 15 Typhoon ECR instead of the American Growler, the overall envelope of potentially ordered devices would have exceeded 100 units, sufficient to hope for industrial optimizations and more competitive prices.

The rest of this article is for subscribers only

Full-access articles are available in the “ Free Items“. Subscribers have access to the full Analyses, OSINT and Synthesis articles. Articles in the Archives (more than 2 years old) are reserved for Premium subscribers.

From €6,50 per month – No time commitment.

Related posts