On November 11th, the German government signed a contract with Airbus SE for the delivery of 38 new Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.
The contract makes Germany the largest ordering nation in Europe’s biggest defence programme. The order, also known by its project name Quadriga, covers the delivery of 30 single-seater and 8 twin-seater Eurofighters.
Three of the aircraft will be equipped with additional test installations as Instrumented Test Aircraft for the further development of the Eurofighter programme.
Dirk Hoke, CEO Airbus Defence and Space, said: “The new Tranche 4 Eurofighter is currently the most modern European-built combat aircraft with a service life well beyond 2060. Its technical capabilities will allow full integration into the European Future Combat Air System FCAS”.
The contract is estimated at $6.5 billion.
“The renewed order from Germany secures production until 2030 and comes at a strategically important time for the program,” the company statement read. “In addition to an expected Eurofighter order from Spain to replace its legacy F-18s, procurement decisions in Switzerland and Finland are imminent in 2021.”
The new batch, to be delivered by 2030, will replace the first tranche, bought between 2003 and 2008, which can only do air-to-air combat and boasts an obsolete radar, according to the German Defence Ministry.
Earlier, on November 8th, it was reported that the German parliament approved the acquisition of 38 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets from Airbus to arm the Luftwaffe, the German air force – rejecting the Lockheed Martin F-35 bid.
Germany’s decision not to buy the F-35 stealth fighter jet was labeled a “retrograde step” that could hamper the country’s ability to operate at the same level as its NATO partners, the European head of Lockheed Martin said in April 2019.
Jonathan Hoyle, vice-president for Europe at the US defense group, said the German decision to exclude the F-35 prompted questions among other European governments.
He alleged that during a recent visit to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization several ambassadors had expressed “disappointment” at the German decision.
“When we go off and collaborate together operationally, if you are flying stealth, fifth-generation jets, you don’t want a fourth-generation jet in the middle of your operations because everyone can see that,” he added.
However, it should not come as any surprise, Airbus is the biggest airliner manufacturer and seller in the world, but it has struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, it is no surprise that Germany would also prefer to make a purchase from a European company rather than a US one.
“The decision of the German parliament to buy 38 Eurofighters, known as the Quadriga project, is a very strong message, not only for the German air force but also for Europe, in particular for European defense manufacturers,” said Dirk Hoke, chief executive of Airbus Defense and Space.
“More than 100,000 jobs are based on programs like this.”
Another reason for Germany to choose the Eurofighter Typhoon over the F-35 was the wish to retain intellectual property of the aircraft, electronic systems and weapons within the country.
Back in the spring of 2020, he German Ministry of Defense decided to purchase 30 American Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet fighters and 15 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft to replace the fleet of obsolete Tornado fighter-bombers in the FRG Air Force, as well as 93 newly built Eurofighter fighters of the Tranche 4 series within the Quadriga project.
On April 16th, the Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany sent to the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in an e-mail an official request to the US government regarding the purchase of 30 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole fighters and 15 electronic warfare aircraft and Boeing EA-18G Growler air defense suppression aircraft for the German Air Force.
The final decision to replace the Tornado fighter-bombers in the German Air Force with aircraft of new types will be made in 2022 or 2023. Only then will the German Parliament make the necessary allocation of funds. The aircraft will be purchased in 2025 with plans to replace the Tornado aircraft by 2030.
Now the German Luftwaffe has 233 combat aircraft, including 140 Eurofighter fighters and 93 Tornado aircraft.
The decommissioning of the obsolete Tornado aircraft was previously planned for 2025, but has now been shifted to at least 2030.
The choice of American F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft to partially replace the Tornado was caused by the need to use them as carriers of nuclear weapons – American B61 series nuclear bombs. It is believed that 20 B61 nuclear bombs are in a US storage facility at Büchel Air Base, Rhineland-Palatinate, where the 33rd Luftwaffe Tactical Aviation Squadron is based, equipped with 46 Tornado IDS aircraft.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- A Return to Containment: Kennan and the Responsible Use of Power – Part 4
- Airborne Troops Of Germany