German Government Reviews Options for Tornado Replacement

Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado

The German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht is reportedly revisiting the German Air Force’s requirement to replace its 90 Panavia Tornados with a new aircraft.

In 2019, then-German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen proposed phasing out the aircraft during the 2020s to potentially be replaced by a mix of Eurofighter Typhoons and Boeing F-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers. However, orders were never forthcoming for either option.

The German government is likely to be torn between its commitment to develop a Future Combat Air System (FCAS) with France, against the growing number of its NATO allies and regional European air force’s opting for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Two of the most recent countries to join the F-35 ownership list include the Finnish Air Force, which decided in December 2021 to replace its F-18 Hornets fleet with 64 F-35A Block 4 aircraft.

Earlier in June 2021, the Swiss Federal Council announced its decision to procure up to 36 F-35As to replace its existing own Northrop F-5 Tiger and F/A-18C/D Hornet aircraft.

In addition to the US Air Force, US Marines and US Navy, a host of other NATO operators of the F-35 variants include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Norway, Poland and Belgium. The networking compatibility with so many of Germany’s allies would be a difficult benefit to ignore.

by Andrew Drwiega