German Aerospace Employee Union Warns Government About Buying Super Hornet

Germany’s biggest aerospace employee union, IG Metall has warned the country’s government that it risks jeopardising the entire European defence industry if it selects a US-built Super Hornet fighter to replace the Luftwaffe’s Panavia Tornado fleet.

IG Metall represents workers from Airbus Defence & Space, sensor specialist Hensoldt, engine maker MTU and aerostructures provider Premium Aerotec.

Berlin has made a decision favoring Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to replace Luftwaffe’s Panavia Tornado fleet.

Luftwaffe’s Panavia Tornado is a multirole aircraft performed air denial, air policing, ground attack, electronic warfare (EW) and nuclear deterrent missions.

While the Eurofighter would be a natural successor for the strike role, it currently has no nuclear strike capability and the US-provided nuclear bombs which would be carried by German aircraft have not been integrated on the multi-national type, potentially opening the door to the Super Hornet or E/A-18G variant.

But in an open letter to Germany’s defence and economy ministers, plus the head of the chancellery, the IG Metall union warns against selecting the F/A-18E/F, even as part of a split-buy.

IG Metall says that 25,000 jobs in Germany and 100,000 in Europe as a whole depend solely on Eurofighter production; a decision against that programme “jeopardises the future of our workforce”, it says.

“The purchase of the F-18 would not only flow billions of dollars in German tax money into the United States, but would also jeopardise the future of military aerospace in Germany. A split solution cannot be the preferred choice. A decision against German and European companies could not be explained to our employees and German taxpayers,” the union writes.

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