German Bundestag deputies have opened the way for the Bundeswehr to purchase 35 ultra-modern American fighter jets F-35 for nearly €10 billion, reports Der Spiegel.
The first planes are scheduled to enter service as early as 2028. German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht called the decision a “very important signal” showing parliament’s support for the armed forces.
It is one of the Bundeswehr’s biggest defence projects and plays a central role in the army’s modernisation process, the German publication notes.
Parliament has also paved the way for the purchase of 118,000 new HK416 automatic rifles to replace the G36. All the projects will be financed from a previously allocated €100bn special fund. German Defence Minister Christina Lambrecht called the MPs’ decisions a “very important signal” that the Bundestag supports the Bundeswehr. She also announced funds for the purchase of radios, snowmobiles and additional equipment for the Puma BMPs.
The purchase of the F-35 stealth aircraft, together with armaments and spare parts, will cost €9.99 billion. They will also help the Germans to fulfil their main commitment to NATO to share nuclear weapons. This means that in the event of war, the allies of the Americans will have to drop US nuclear bombs on the enemy located in Europe. So far, the Bundeswehr’s Tornado fighters have been tasked with this task, but they will be decommissioned in the coming years because they are obsolete.
In 2026, the first German pilots will go to the US to train to fly American fighters. Deliveries of F-35s to Germany are planned to start in 2027. By 2028, some of them will already be combat-ready, Der Spiegel concludes.
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