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Germany opts for F-35, Eurofighter to fulfil future fighter requirements

An artist's impression of the F-35A in Luftwaffe markings. Despite having previously been discounted for political reasons, the type has now been selected by Berlin as a partial Tornado replacement platform alongside the Eurofighter. (Lockheed Martin via Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Germany has selected the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Eurofighter platforms to fulfil its future fighter requirements.

The Bundeswehr announced on 14 March that it had selected the F-35A to fulfil its Tornado replacement requirement alongside the Eurofighter, with a new Electronic Combat Role (ECR) variant of the Eurofighter to be developed, most likely to fulfil the Luftgestützte Wirkung im Elektromagnetischen Spektrum (luWES) electronic attack (EA) requirement for NATO.

“The decision on the Tornado successor has been made: With the aircraft type F-35, the task of nuclear sharing will be guaranteed in the future. The goal is to replace the Tornado by 2030,” the Bundeswehr said on its official Twitter account, adding, “The Eurofighter will also be retained for the armed forces, and will be further developed for the electronic combat role.”

Though the announcement did not provide numbers, German lawmakers were quoted as saying the Luftwaffe will receive up to 35 F-35As and 15 Eurofighters. Based on previous official announcements, the F-35As will likely complement 50 Eurofighter Tranche 5s under the Tornado replacement requirement, while the additional Eurofighter ECRs just announced will be for the luWES requirement. These 85 F-35A and Eurofighter Tranche 5 Tornado replacement jets, and the 15 Eurofighter ECR luWES jets are in addition to 38 Eurofighter Tranche 4 jets that are already under contract under Project Quadriga, for a total buy of 138 new combat aircraft.


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