As Russian dictator Vladimir Putin continues his assault on Ukraine, the German Ministry of Defense on March 14 announced its plan to buy Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-35 fighters to replace the dozens of Tornado fighters in the German fleet by 2030.
The announcement came on the same day that German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht met with Amy Gutmann, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, about fortifying NATO.
“The F-35 offers unique potential for cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in Europe,” Lambrecht said.
On March 14, the German Ministry of Defense also said that it will retain the more than 100 Eurofighters in the German fleet and develop them for electronic warfare (EW).
German Air Force Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz said in a statement that, with the F-35 and the development of the Eurofighter for EW, the German Air Force “is very well positioned for the future.”
Lambrecht said on March 14 that the development of the Eurofighter for EW “means that important key technology” in Germany and other European nations “is retained.”
“In addition, we are securing a strong German role in the future FCAS system,” she said.
The sixth generation Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is under development in France and Germany, while the United Kingdom is undertaking its Tempest program.
Last year, U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, the head of U.S. European Command, said that NATO may have 450 F-35s by 2030 and that the United States was opening lines of communication with European countries on the U.S. sixth generation Next Generation Air Dominance family of systems and European fighter efforts, including the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and Tempest (Defense Daily, June 9, 2021).
The Russian invasion of Ukraine may accelerate U.S.-European cooperation on future fighters and the fielding of F-35s in Europe.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, recently told German lawmakers that, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany will invest more than two percent of its GDP annually in defense and that the country will vault defense spending in a new $112.1 billion security fund for military modernization (Defense Daily, Feb. 28).