skip to main content

Airbus presses Berlin to confirm Eurofighter portion of Tornado replacement plan

A Eurofighter Tranche 4 combat aircraft for the Luftwaffe's Project Quadriga. Airbus is proposing a Tranche 5 variant for Germany's Tornado replacement requirement and is pressing Berlin for confirmation of a procurement. (Eurofighter)

Airbus has pressed the German government to confirm the previously announced plan to buy additional Eurofighter combat aircraft as part of the Luftwaffe's wider Tornado replacement requirement.

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space (DS), said on 15 March that his company “needs that decision too”, following Berlin's announcement that it would acquire the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to satisfy the nuclear mission of this requirement, with more Eurofighters to be developed into an electronic attack variant.

“The majority of Tornados are used in the conventional fighter-bomber role, and should also be replaced by Eurofighter [Tranche 5]. We need that decision now, too. That's key as Eurofighter is the technological bridge towards [the Future Combat Air System] FCAS to be on [the same] level with our future partners [France and Spain],” Schoellhorn tweeted.

In its announcement on 14 March, the German government said that it had selected the F-35A to fulfil its Tornado replacement requirement, and that a new Electronic Combat Role (ECR) variant of the Eurofighter is to be developed. This Eurofighter ECR would likely fulfil the Luftwaffe's separate but related Luftgestützte Wirkung im Elektromagnetischen Spektrum (luWES) electronic attack (EA) requirement for NATO.

The previous German administration had announced that the Tornado replacement requirement would be satisfied by 55 new Eurofighter Tranche 5s and 30 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for a total fleet of 85 aircraft, with luWES seeing 15 Boeing EA-18G Growlers acquired. Separately, Germany ordered 38 Eurofighter Tranche 4 jets under Project Quadriga, for a total buy of 138 new combat aircraft.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...