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F-35, Eurofighter ECR back in the mix for Germany

Seen mocked up in Luftwaffe markings in this artist's impression, the F-35 is once again being considered by Germany as a potential solution to its Tornado replacement requirement. (Lockheed Martin via Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Germany is again eyeing the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Eurofighter Electronic Combat Role (ECR) as potential solutions to its Tornado replacement requirement.

It was reported on 8 January that the country's newly installed Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht had told Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the previously discounted F-35 and overlooked Eurofighter ECR were again being considered as replacements for the Luftwaffe's Panavia Tornado Interdiction and Strike/Electronic Combat Reconnaissance aircraft.

“The aim is to clarify again whether buying the more modern F-35 aircraft could be an alternative, and whether the Eurofighter [Electronic Combat Role (ECR)] could [also] be considered for a second task for the Tornado fleet [of] electronic combat,” Lambrecht was reported by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur to have told Scholz.

Janes first reported the Luftwaffe's preference for the F-35 at the IQPC International Fighter conference in November 2017, and Airbus' plans to develop the Eurofighter ECR for the service at the same event in November 2019. However, the US-built fifth-generation stealth combat aircraft was quickly eliminated from the then German government's procurement plans, reportedly on account of pressure being exerted by the country's partner on the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project, France, while the plan to develop the Eurofighter ECR was seemingly overlooked in favour of acquiring the already-operational Boeing EA-18G Growler from the United States.

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