Germany requests major F-35 Lightning II-related FMS package
The US State Department on 28 July announced its approval of an $8.4 billion potential FMS deal for Germany, covering the supply of F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, munitions and related equipment.
‘The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today,’ the State Department noted.
Germany is requesting 35 F-35A aircraft, 37 Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100 engines and an extensive weapons package, comprising:
- 105 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and four guidance sections for the AIM-120C-8.
- 75 AGM-158B/B2 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ERs) plus two inert missiles with test instrumentation kits and two Separation Test Vehicles
- 344 GBU-53 StormBreaker precision-guided glide bombs plus three Guided Test Vehicles and eight Captive Carry Reliability Trainers
- 162 BLU-109 2,000lb hardened penetrator bombs plus 30 inert bombs
- 264 MK-82 500lb general-purpose bombs plus six inert bombs
- 180 tail kits for the GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
- 246 tail kits for the GBU-54 Laser JDAM
- 75 AIM-9X Block II+ Tactical Sidewinder missiles plus 30 more for training
- 15 AIM-9X Block II+ guidance control units plus five more for combat arms training and maintenance.
F-35 OEM Lockheed Martin plus Pratt & Whitney, Boeing and Raytheon have been named as prime contractors of the aforementioned equipment, with industrial offset arrangements a distinct possibility.
Also included are avionics, EW equipment, navigation systems, training services, and engineering and logistics support.
The F-35A in German Air Force service would replace Tornado multirole fighters with a more advanced platform: JASSM-ER, for instance, would enable long-range conventional precision strike.
The new fifth-generation fighters would also be capable of undertaking nuclear strike missions armed with the B61-12 bomb.
For many years this was a contentious political issue in Germany but it is now arguably of lesser importance than the increased threat of Russian aggression against NATO amid Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
Shephard Defence Insight notes that the German Air Force operates 86 Tornados, 45 of which are nuclear mission-capable Tornado IDS aircraft.
‘The proposed sale [of F-35As and associated weapons] will improve Germany’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a suitable replacement for Germany’s retiring Tornado aircraft fleet in support of NATO’s nuclear sharing mission’ as the centrepiece for European deterrence, the State Department noted.
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