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IFC 2022: Luftwaffe reaffirms F-35A, Eurofighter EK procurement plan

The Luftwaffe is to acquire 35 F-35As to partially satisfy its Tornado replacement requirement. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The Luftwaffe has restated its earlier declared intent to satisfy its Tornado replacement requirement with Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Eurofighter Electronic Combat (Elektronischer Kampf: EK) aircraft, despite recent reports this was being reconsidered because of budgetary pressures.

Speaking at the IQPC International Fighter Conference (IFC) 2022 held in Berlin from 16 to 18 November, the Commander of the Air Force Forces Command, Lieutenant General Günter Katz, said that the intent to procure 35 F-35As and 15 Eurofighter EKs remains.

This statement on 16 November was contrary to German media reports over recent weeks that F-35 numbers were being revised downwards and the Eurofighter EK was to be replaced by the Boeing EA-18G Growler as a result of inflationary pressures on the EUR100 billion (USD103.86 billion) Söndervermögen (special fund) uplift in national defence spending that was introduced on the back of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.

The Bundeswehr announced on 14 March that it had selected the F-35A and Eurofighter EK to fulfil its Tornado replacement requirement. “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 at the time, adding, “The Eurofighter will also be retained for the armed forces, and will be further developed for the electronic combat role.”

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