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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