Germany to buy nuclear-capable F-35 fighter jets in defense spending spree Business

Germany must buy F-35 fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear weapons from the United States as the country begins a massive increase in defense spending after the war in Ukraine.

It comes two weeks after Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged to invest 100bn euros (£84bn) in Germany’s military this year and boost annual defense spending to more than 2% of GDP , the NATO target repeatedly missed by many members.

The F-35s will replace some of Berlin’s aging Tornado jets, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced Monday.

The German military does not possess nuclear weapons of its own, but it maintained bombers capable of carrying US atomic weapons as part of the nuclear deterrent system developed during the Cold War.

Tornados are the only jets in the German fleet that can currently use these bombs.

Ingo Gerhartz, commander of the German Air Force, said Russia’s war in Ukraine necessitated the choice of the F-35s, which are produced by Maryland-based Lockheed Martin.

Previously, the government had considered replacing the Luftwaffe’s Tornados with a mix of different American and European-made aircraft.

Mr Gerhartz said: “There can only be one response to Putin’s aggression. Unity within NATO and a credible deterrent force. This means in particular that there is no other alternative than to choose the F-35.

US Ambassador Amy Gutmann said that by acquiring new nuclear-capable aircraft, Germany was “cementing its continued participation in NATO’s nuclear sharing mission”.

Germany will also upgrade its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to be capable of electronic warfare, Ms Lambrecht said.

They will be replaced from 2040 by the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) developed jointly with France and Spain.

However, Paris had previously expressed concern that Berlin’s purchase of the F-35s would render the FCAS project redundant.

He had previously struggled with divisions between French industrial partners Dassault and Airbus.

Ms Lambrecht said FCAS was not in danger of failing and she reiterated Germany’s commitment to her French counterpart last week.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-14 20:56:39

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