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Luftwaffe chief dismissed over F-35 support

16 March 2018
The Luftwaffe service chief had said that he wanted to replace the Tornado with the F-35, seen here in German markings at the recent Berlin Security Conference. The viewpoint seems to have cost him his job. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

The Chief of the Luftwaffe is to leave his position in large part due to his support for a German procurement of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), Jane’s has learned.

Lieutenant General Karl Müllner will leave his position by the end of May, with the news of his retirement breaking just two days after Germany’s defence secretary, Ursula von der Leyen, was sworn in for another term.

Jane’s understands that Gen Müllner’s outspoken public support for the JSF as a successor to the German Tornado fleet was pivotal in the decision for his early retirement. “The Luftwaffe considers the F-35’s capability as the benchmark for the selection process for the Tornado replacement, and I think I have expressed myself clearly enough as to what the favourite of the air force is,” Gen Müllner told Jane’s and other media in November 2017.

The Chief of the Luftwaffe’s active support of the JSF clashes with current Ministry of Defence planning, which prefers a successor solution involving the Eurofighter Typhoon.

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