Germany Re-considering US F-35s to Replace Tornados for US Nuke Missions

The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
American Liberty News
- July 15, 2024
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, a progressive host and former press secretary for President Joe Biden, voiced deep concerns this weekend about the climate of fear and violence, supposedly towards journalists, following the near assassination of former President .

During an appearance on ' “” with , Psaki addressed the tension and the possibility of violence in the wake of the assassination attempt. She emphasized that attributing the attack to Democrats and the media only heightens fears and escalates the risk.

It has been a roller coaster for 's decision on its replacement for its venerable but aging Panavia (European consortium) Tornado strike fighter. The Tornado entered service in the 1970 and is the only aircraft of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) to carry the 20 US-made B61 nuclear bombs stockpiled in Germany as part of nuclear sharing agreement.

However, the Tornado is now too old to even participate in NATO missions, much less safely carry nukes. So, since 2017, the Luftwaffe has been looking for a replacement.

But the ride to replace the Tornado has since been tumultuous.

As Areotime reports:

The Eurofighter Typhoon was initially considered but, according to the , its certification would have required from three to five years. That schedule would be untimely, as the German Tornados are set to retire by 2025, 2030 at the latest. 

The Lockheed Martin F-35A was also ruled out as its acquisition could have made the Future Air Combat System (FCAS), which Germany agreed to jointly develop with France and Spain, redundant.  

In April 2020, Germany settled for 30 F/A-18 Super Hornets, which have the capacity to carry B61 bombs. Additionally, 15 of the variant for electronic warfare, the EA-18G Growler, would also be ordered, as well as 90 Eurofighter Typhoons to renew the fighter fleet. 

In November 2020, the Eurofighter order was confirmed. But the Super Hornet procurement was postponed until after the German federal election of October 2021, as the stockpiling of nuclear weapons in the country was a source of debate during the campaign.  

In November 2021, the newly-formed German coalition renewed the country's commitment to be part of NATO's nuclear deterrence capabilities. But in the meantime, the F/A-18F had be removed from the National Nuclear Security Administration from the list of aircraft to be certified to carry the B-61 nuclear bomb. 

So now Germany is back to considering the F-35A stealth Joint Strike Fighter, which is undergoing its own U.S. nuclear weapons certification. In October 2021, the United States Air Force completed a first weapon system demonstration by dropping B61-12 Joint Test Assemblies (JTAs) from two F-35A jets.

Germany's new coalition said it will purchase a Tornado replacement early in its four-year term in office. Without this move, Berlin would drop out of NATO's nuclear sharing agreement when the last Tornado retires around 2030, Reuters said. And with the growing Russian threat, this is something no one wants right now.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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