Germany’s Ministry of Defense officially ruled out the F-35 joint strike fighter as a choice to replace its Tornado fighter jet fleet, according to anonymous sources cited by Defense News. The story was initially reported by German outlet Augen Geradeaus.
The Tornado fighter jet fleet will be replaced either by a Eurofighter or a F/A-18.
Information about operation, economy and the timelines would be requested from the manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, respectively of the Eurofighter and the F/A-18.
Either of these will be used until the Franco-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is commissioned from around 2040 onwards.
Before the reports that the German Defense Ministry confirmed that the F-35 was officially out of the running, Reuters on January 31st reported that the ministry was considering splitting the buy between the Typhoon and either the F-35 or Super Hornet.
The Reuters report has been updated since. However, after the update it claims the following:
The outlet reported that Airbus welcomed the news about the Eurofighter replacement purchases, and said it remained convinced that its jet offered the lowest-risk prospect for replacing the Tornado jets.
Boeing declined to comment, as did the US embassy in Berlin, according to Reuters.
Defense News cited an emailed response by Lockheed spokesman Mike Friedman:
“We have not been officially notified of a decision on Germany’s future fighter. The F-35 delivers unmatched value as the most capable and lowest life-cycle cost aircraft, while delivering the strongest long-term industrial and economic opportunities compared to any fighter on the market. As the foundation of NATO’s next generation of air power, the F-35 is the most advanced aircraft in the world today, and includes Electronic Attack capabilities well beyond any specialized fourth generation aircraft.”
The Tornado, developed in the 1970s by an Anglo-Italian-German consortium, is fast approaching the end of its service life. Maintaining the existing planes is costing Germany billions of euros, which the defense ministry feels should be used to buy newer, better planes.