Germany looks to F35 for Tornado replacement after previously favoring Super Hornet

Germany buy F35 replace Tornado
F-35C Lightning IIs, attached to the Grim Reapers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, and an F/A-18E/F Super Hornets attached to the Naval Aviation Warfighter Development Center (NAWDC) fly over Naval Air Station Fallon's (NASF) Range Training Complex.

The new German government appears to be considering a new approach for replacing the German Air Force's nuclear-capable Panavia Tornado fleet.

Germany was supposed to purchase 45 Boeing Super Hornet/Growler aircraft which are capable of taking over the Tornado task for the suppression and destruction of enemy air defenses (SEAD/DEAD), as well as deploy the B61 tactical nuclear weapons.

Although former German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer confirmed an upcoming deal with Boeing last year, the country now appears to be looking into ditching the Super Hornet in order to purchase the more modern F-35 fighter.

The plans of the previous administration of the German Ministry of Defense included the purchase of 30 F/A-18 Super Hornets to carry nuclear weapons and 15 EA-18G Growlers to take on the role of electronic warfare.

It seems that the new Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht is considering buying the F-35 for nuclear tasks and having the Eurofighter play the role of electronic warfare.

Although the German Air Force currently boasts a fleet of 140 Eurofighters, as well as having another 38 aircraft of the latest variant on order, Germany is forced to look to other platforms as Eurofighter certification for nuclear strike was considered too complicated, expensive and takes too long. The F-35A completed its final test with the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb last October.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: US Navy/Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell

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