May, 14

    Germany clinches $8 billion purchase of 35 F-35 aircraft from the US

    Featured in:

    WASHINGTON — German government leaders on Wednesday announced a deal to buy 35 F-35 fighter jets from the United States, a package pegged at $8.4 billion by the Pentagon in its offer from the summer.

    Signature of the letter of acceptance caps Berlin’s years-long quest to replace the portion of its aging Tornado fleet tasked with carrying out NATO’s doctrine of nuclear weapons sharing. German officials had decided on the Lockheed Martin-made jet in the spring, setting in motion the purchasing process for the aircraft, weapons and spares.

    Lawmakers approved the funding in a session of the parliamentary Budget Committee earlier on Wednesday. It’s part of a $14 billion batch of procurements German defense leaders will use to improve lackluster military capabilities over the coming years, drawing from a special $107 billion defense fund set up after Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) walks by an F-35 aircraft during the first day of the ILA Berlin 2022 air show on June 22, 2022, in Schoenefeld, Germany. (Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)
    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) walks by an F-35 aircraft during the first day of the ILA Berlin 2022 air show on June 22, 2022, in Schoenefeld, Germany. (Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

    “It is an honor to formally welcome Germany to the F-35 Lightning II Program,” said Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “Germany’s participation ensures the F-35′s European alliance continues to strengthen and grow through interoperability with NATO and ally nations.”

    Training of German pilots with the first new planes is slated to begin in 2026 in the United States. Those activities are scheduled to move to Germany the following year, before the Luftwaffe, Germany’s air force, declares an initial operational capability in 2028.

    That timeline is of particular concern for the Germans because it requires facilities at the country’s F-35 base, Büchel in the west of Germany, to be ready for housing the modern planes by 2027.

    Luftwaffe Chief of Staff Lt Gen. Ingo Gerhartz today told reporters in Berlin officials are in the process of tapping a general contractor with experience in building F-35-related infrastructure. The plan, he said, is to condense the permitting and construction process, which other officials have said can take six or seven years, to meet the envisioned 2027 target.

    Military spokespeople in Berlin could not immediately say on Wednesday which contractor Gerhartz was referring to. In April, neighboring F-35 user Belgium, which plans to upgrade by 2025 the 1950s- and 1960s-era infrastructure at air bases Florennes and Kleine Brogel, awarded a Belgian-Dutch-U.S. consortium led by Jan De Nul a contract worth $692 million for the work.

    Following Berlin’s purchase of the fifth-generation fighter jets, Lockheed Martin expects to reach out to local industry early in 2023 to include German subcontractors in the F-35 program, a company spokesman told Defense News.

    Generally, there are limits to how much work can be awarded locally to international F-35 customers, as the jet contains secret technologies only the U.S. government and its contractors are allowed to service.

    Editor’s note: This article was corrected to state that the F-35 is a fifth-generation aircraft.

    Source: Defense News

    Find us on

    Latest articles

    - Advertisement -

    Related articles

    Stratolaunch sets sights on hypersonic speeds for next Talon-A...

    Following a successful test flight in which its Talon-A vehicle reached near-hypersonic speeds, Stratolaunch is preparing...

    Britain finalizes deal to buy 14 Chinook helicopters

    LONDON — Britain’s defense secretary has committed to a deal to acquire a new fleet of...

    Revamped KC-46 vision system slipping into 2026, nearly two...

    The rollout of the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker’s new remote vision system will likely slip into...

    Pentagon may build a second track for hypersonic ground...

    The Pentagon is exploring options to build a second track to test hypersonic systems that can...

    India approves full development of fifth-generation fighter

    CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — India’s Cabinet Committee on Security has given a green light to continue...

    Pentagon clears F-35 for full-rate production

    The Defense Department said Tuesday it has officially made its long-awaited decision to move forward with...