Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Germany to buy dozens of US stealth jets

Germany to buy dozens of US stealth jets

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Germany plans to buy up to 35 F-35 fighter jets made by US firm Lockheed Martin as well as 15 Eurofighter jets as part of a major push to modernise the armed forces in response to Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine. AFP

Germany to buy dozens of US stealth jets

Germany on March 14 unveiled plans to buy dozens of US-made F-35 fighter jets, as part of a multi-billion-euro push to modernise its armed forces in response to Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine.

Berlin intends to buy 35 F-35 jets made by Lockheed Martin to replace Germany’s decades-old Tornado fleet, as well as purchasing an additional 15 Eurofighter jets.

Minister of Defence Christine Lambrecht called the purchase agreement “a good step forwards” for Germany’s Bundeswehr armed forces.

“There can only be one answer to Putin’s aggression, and that is unity in NATO and credible deterrence,” Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, commander of the German Air Force, told reporters.

Germany’s Tornados are the only Luftwaffe planes certified to carry US nuclear bombs stationed in Germany that are a key part of NATO deterrence.

Lockheed’s fifth-generation F-35 stealth jets are considered the most modern combat aircraft in the world, and their unique shape and coating make them harder to detect by enemy radar.

The additional Eurofighter jets Germany plans to purchase, made by a consortium that includes Airbus, would be used for other operations, including electronic warfare like jamming enemy air defence systems.

In a landmark speech late last month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged to invest an extra €100 billion ($112 billion) to bring the nation’s chronically underfunded Bundeswehr into the modern age.

The spending boost marks a major reversal for Europe’s top economy, upending its policy of keeping a low military profile in part out of guilt over World War II.

After years of criticism that the country wasn’t shouldering enough of the financial burden in the NATO military alliance, Scholz vowed to spend “more than two per cent” of Germany’s gross domestic product annually on defence, surpassing NATO’s own two-per-cent target.

The shift was prompted by Russia’s offensive in Ukraine on February 24, which shook Germany’s sense of security and shone a harsh spotlight on the state of its armed forces.

The F-35 purchase however raised questions about the future of a common European fighter jet that is being developed with Spain and France.

Known as the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), that plane is slated to replace French-made Rafale jets and German and Spanish Eurofighter planes from 2040.

Scholz sought to allay fears that the project might become unnecessary, saying in February’s speech that the joint European project was an “absolute priority”.

But the Bundeswehr has to replace its 40-year-old, 93-strong Tornado fleet in the short term because it has become “obsolete”, Scholz added.

Lambrecht on March 14 also reiterated Germany’s commitment to FCAS in the long term.

Lawmaker Johannes Arlt from Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), said the F-35 deal was good news for FCAS in a roundabout way.

“The F-35 builds a bridge to FCAS. The Luftwaffe will learn to fly these fifth generation jets and that will help the FCAS project.”

The ultra-modern FCAS jets are considered sixth generation fighters.

Germany’s planned jet deal is bad news for US aviation giant Boeing, whose F-18 fighters were considered the frontrunner to succeed the Tornados.

While cheaper than F-35s, the F-18 would have had to have been recertified to be able to transport the atomic warheads hosted by Germany.

The price tag of Germany’s new combat jets was not immediately known.


  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Takeo hand-woven silk items provide local high-quality alternative to imports

    After graduating from university and beginning her career as a civil servant at the the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Khieu Sina found time to establish a business that aligns with her true passion – quality hand-woven Khmer goods. Her product line, known as Banteay Srei,

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,

  • 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival draws to close

    Cambodia's 11th Chaktomuk Short Film Festival wrapped up successfully on November 28 after a four-day run, with the film “Voice of the Night” awarded top prize for 2022. Sum Sithen, the organiser of the short film festival, told The Post that the number of attendees to the