While Germany is with France and Spain jointly developing a future combat air system (FCAS), this will not arrive until the 2040s.
“Therefore, there must be a bridge solution based on models available on the market for the time after the Tornado has become useless and before the FCAS is launched,” German Defense Minister says. Partner nations “France and Great Britain were also included in the planning”, Minister adds.
Although unions have argued that the selection of the US-built fighters would harm development activities and industrial capabilities required for the FCAS, this project “should not be endangered”, says the ministry.
“In order to maintain unbroken capability especially nuclear and electeonic warfare capability, procurement must start from 2025,” it says. “To be able to replace the Tornado in good time, the procurement process must therefore be started now.”
The Tornado is “no longer economical and no longer safe to operate” beyond 2030, says defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
The defence ministry describes the Super Hornets as “already fully developed and available on the armaments market”, and says initial talks with the US administration have already been held.
The 45 Boeing-made planes would replace a portion of the country’s Tornado aircraft, taking on the sensitive roles of delivering U.S. atomic weapons under NATO’s so-called nuclear sharing doctrine and clearing enemy enemy air defenses for follow-on waves of aerial forces.
In addition, the proposal transmitted to lawmakers on Tuesday afternoon entails buying up to 93 Airbus-made Eurofighters, which would carry out the bulk of kinetic missions that warplanes tend to do.
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