The German government ordered 35 F-35 fighters from the US in an effort to adjust its strategy amid security tensions in Europe.
“After carefully considering all options, I decided to order the F-35 to replace the Tornado fighter to ensure the role of sharing nuclear deterrence,” German Defense Minister Christine Lambretcht said. March 14 announcement.
Tornado is the only fighter line that Germany is using that is capable of deploying US nuclear weapons in a conflict outbreak scenario.
The two countries have an agreement to store nuclear weapons on German territory within the framework of NATO’s mutual defense. In addition, the US keeps nuclear weapons in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, which are all members of the military alliance.
The decision to order the F-35 was announced by the German government not long after Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a budget of 100 billion euros (more than 109 billion USD) to modernize the military.
Germany is strongly adjusting its national security policy after the Russia-Ukraine tension escalated into an armed conflict from February 24.
Prime Minister Scholz’s government has pledged to raise defense spending to 2% of GDP in line with NATO’s common target for each member state. Previous American leaders, especially former President Donald Trump, have repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with Germany’s contribution to joint defense capabilities.
Berlin aims to gradually replace the Tornado fighter jet in service with a roadmap from 2025 to 2030. Minister Lambrecht assessed that the F-35 fighter jet will open up opportunities for Germany to strengthen cooperation with its NATO allies and partners in Europe because many countries also order this line of military aircraft from the US.
In addition, Germany plans to buy 15 more Eurofighter fighters from Airbus for electronic warfare. This function for the Eurofighter series has not actually been developed by the company yet.
The German Ministry of Defense under former minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had planned to buy Boeing’s F-18 fighter instead of Lockheed Martin’s F-35. Minister Lambretcht’s plan to order F-35s may also affect the speed of cooperation in the development of a new generation fighter between France and Germany, which is expected to be completed in the 2040s.