On Dec 14, 2022, the German Ministry of Defense announced that a Letter of Acceptance for the acquisition of 35 F-35 Lightning II fighter jets has been signed.
Germany’s budgetary committee approved funding for 35 of the fifth-generation jets at a cost of €8.4 billion ($8.8 billion).
The new aircraft are under order to partly replace Germany’s aging Panavia Tornado fleet, alongside Eurofighter Electronic Combat Role (ECR) fighters, and will be equipped with US B61 bombs to undertake NATO nuclear deterrence missions.
The German air force has been flying the Tornado since the 1980s, and Berlin is planning to phase it out between 2025 and 2030.
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These projects are among the first to tap money from a 100 billion euro ($106 billion) special fund that Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in a major policy shift days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
The money is meant to bring the German military’s weapons and equipment back up to standard after decades of attrition following the end of the Cold War.
Of the 100-billion-euro fund for the armed forces, Lambrecht said: “This will probably not be enough to close the gaps that emerged over the past years because we neglected procurement.”
Germany aims to buy 35 F-35 stealth fighter jets in total, including missiles and other weapons and equipment, with the first eight aircraft to be delivered in 2026.