Germany’s purchase of 35 F-35A Joint Strike Fighters will come at an estimated cost $8.4 billion, a US State Department approval for the sale reveals.
According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), Germany’s request included the fighters, engines and spares, as well as 75 AIM-9X Block II+ Sidewinder missiles, 105 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), and 75 AGM-158B/B2 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ER).
Also included are 344 GBU-53 small diameter bombs (SDB-II), 162 BLU-109 2000LB hardened penetrator bombs for GBU-31, 264 MK-82 500LB general purpose bombs for GBU-54, 30 BLU-109 inert 2000LB hardened penetrator bombs, 180 KMU-557 Joint Direct-Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits for GBU-31, 246 KMU-572 JDAM tail kits for GBU-54.
The US State Department approved the sale after Germany revealed its decision to buy the F-35 in March this year.
In German Air Force service, the F-35s will be taking over the nuclear strike role currently performed by the PA-200 Tornado, while an estimated 15 Eurofighters could be purchased to take over the Tornado’s electronic warfare role.
Despite a current fleet of 140 Eurofighters, alongside an order for an additional 38 airframes of the latest variant, Germany was forced to look at other platforms since the certification of the Eurofighter for the nuclear strike has been deemed to be too complicated, costly, or time-consuming. The F-35 in its conventional take-off and landing variant, the F-35A, completed full weapon system demonstration with the B61-12 guided nuclear bomb in October last year.
“The proposed sale 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, the centerpiece for deterrence in Europe,” the DSCA said in a statement.