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Germany Requests Classified Briefing on F-35 for Procurement Purposes

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posted on May, 17 2017 @ 10:33 AM
Germany has been looking at replacing at least some of its current fighters between 2025 and 2035. I had thought they were interested in procuring a European solution, a follow-on to the Typhoon. However, Germany just requested a classified briefing on the F-35. That would strongly imply they are thinking the aircraft might be procurable.

In a way, it makes sense. No other 5th gen contenders are available in the West in the time frame requested and based on the experience with the F-22, it may be the 6th gen (at least the initial bird) will not be exportable. Also, it makes sense since the F-35 is becoming the West's standard 5th gen fighter and that would reduce logistics costs, never mind development costs.

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 10:38 AM
More and more countries are showing interest in the F-35 as it proves better and better in exercises and development is getting better.

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 11:28 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

After all that money spent, it better be worth it.
edit on 17-5-2017 by 4N0M4LY because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 11:38 AM
Nah, that just the German Air Force doing window shopping imho. I don't see them getting it past the parlament. That would require some serious lobbying.

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 11:46 AM
a reply to: moebius

At this point, if they try to develop a clean sheet aircraft, as they've talked about, they're looking at 20 years until it's operational. They're better off going straight to a 6th gen platform almost. Buying something that exists, and magnifies their capabilities buys them years to work on their own aircraft.

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 12:05 PM
a reply to: anzha

Yes, please! Away with the eurofighters... we´re bound to the USA military-wise either way, so why not!

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 01:15 PM
Not surprising to say the least, this is just the next step in long term procurement plans.
The Inspekteur der Luftwaffe (Chief of the Air Force) talked about this and there was a comprehensive non classified paper on it as well.
The Luftwaffe is persuing a family of systems approach called Future Combat Air Systems (FCAS) atm. Basically it includes a 5th Gen Weapon System called NextGenWS which may or may not be unmmaned or optionally manned and an Advanced Command Fighter (=F-35) with a strike capability and the ability to contro UAVs.
The concept is intented to replace the Tornado within the next two decades, the Eurofighter wont be replaced anytime soon (before the turn of the century).

So what will actually happen? Germany will round up some European Allies and direct Airbus Military, Bae Systems, Dassault or three of them to build another LO UCAV at some point within the next decade. With much luck this effort will result in some form of meaningfull operational capability until 2040. This is the NextGenWS part of the FCAS approach. Get money to European defense companies because buying American doesnt help the local defense economy in Bayern and Baden-Württemberg (i'm not joking, this is basically how german military procurement has worked since there was a German military).
Unfortunately for them they cant do the same with a 5th gen fighter aircraft. They would in a heartbeat if they could (and maybe the politicians are just crazy enough to try) but designing and building an actual combat capable 5th gen aircraft is impossible for even the entirety of Europe. They dont have the neccessary funding, the cutting edge technoloy, Knowledge and experience , the political will and time for such a project. Its F-35 or bust for all European Air Forces.
And since Germany has to replace the Tornado at some point - the Luftwaffe takes the neccessary steps and prays for a favorable political climate in the next decade. Which is not entirely impossible, but i'd put my money on an unified European Air Force instead.
edit on 17-5-2017 by mightmight because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 01:33 PM
Used to be U.S. needed German technology for procurement. Until they procured most of their scientists and engineers.

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 02:14 PM
Its not as if they have a choice in the matter IMHO.

I'm unaware of any active European 5th generation fighter programs or studies. So unless they are willing to wait or develop a 5th or 6th Generation the F-35 is the only shot they have unless they want to look to (and wait for) the J-20 or the PAK-FA

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 02:49 PM
a reply to: FredT

J-20 has entered service:

However, the Chinese have signaled they will not sell the J-20 so long as the US doesn't sell the F-22 or any other bleeding edge fair superiority fighter. The FC-31 is for sale, but not the J-20.

And would you want to trust the Russians with providing your new air force?

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 04:01 PM
a reply to: anzha

I forgot my facetious tag LOL Yes I doubt that China will be exporting the J-20 as they do not need the sale to generate $$$ as in years past and will want to prioritize their needs first and Yes I would not trust the russians at all.

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 04:35 PM
a reply to: mightmight
I sign in on the UCAV part especially. As for MIC, I only know Airbus, Rheinmetall, Thyssen-Krupp and maybe Diehl from the top of my head. All of them have their headquarters more up the north, afaik.

When you talk about BaWü and Bayern ("bavaria" for the english members), I can´t think of a big one but many different part suppliers. Oh Eurocopter is based in Donauwörth and near Ulm. Can you name some if you happen to know?

I´d also put money on a united airforce for Europe. It´s been prepared in law and authority structures already so that for example a French general could give commands to a German unit for example, if deployed together in a EU-mission. It only makes sense to cover not only sea and land, but also the airforce when it comes to that. On the hardware side, we (I mean Germany) could not come up with a fighter programm alone financially, politically.

It may be a risk to use american F-35 in terms of reliance on a good partnership with the USA, but let´s be honest here again, they have us by the balls (Germany).

Personally, I´d like to have the F-35 around, in our airforce. The mileage is not a big issue, as Germany is 19x smaller than the USA. We have the support structure anyways because of the many US bases.

The question for me is, how neatly will it integrate with our systems, because that´s a key factor for the F-35. I don´t even mind the risk that our allies will plant their own little doors they are deeply integrated in our systems but again, they (USA) have us by the balls, anyways.

posted on May, 17 2017 @ 11:53 PM
a reply to: verschickter
I mentioned the two states mostly because of politics involved. The dominant political parties are keen on strengthening the local defense economy. Especially the CSU in Bavaria.
Its somewhat different now with the Greens in power in Baden-Würrttemberg, but this will change again when Kretschmann retires, not relevant for long term trends.

As you probably know, the CDU/CSU generally support the military (more than the left wing parties) but they like high paying industrial jobs even more.
So naturally they are in favor of military procurements as long as german / european companies in Germany profit. The capabilitys of the desired product and the actual need of the military are far less important. And it nevers hurts two invent the wheel a second time. Cant be perfect unless its designed by German engineers...
'Arms policy equals industrial policy' sums it up pretty well.

Thats how they frequently end up with military procurement desasters, especially in the aviation sector... A400M, NH90, Tiger...

As far as distribution of defense companies goes you can take a look at this map:
The north is dominated by the maritime industry. There is lots of defense industry in the west too, but those regions densely populated and (at least historically) dominiated by heavy industry.
The map in general is shaped by the Cold War of course, there is no meaningfull defense industry beyond the Fulda Gap and in the Northern German Plaines since those regions would bear the brunt of a soviet general offensive back in the day.

posted on May, 18 2017 @ 08:47 PM
Anyone know France's next gen plans?

I wonder if UK will develop its own replacement for Typhoon and Tornado, FOAS is still knocking around I think.

posted on May, 19 2017 @ 03:32 AM
a reply to: Forensick
I think NEURON is ticking over slowly...

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 11:10 AM

France and Germany to develop new European fighter jet


So this happened today.
The German and French Governments had some kind of meetup today at which they announced a ‚eruopeanisation‘ oft he arms policy of both countries. Meaning going forward, pretty much every major defense procurement project will be a joint effort of both countries.

Most of this is not aircraft related and might even make sense in some regard. For example, a couple of months ago Germanys leading tank manufacturer KMW was (pretty much) taken over by the french defense company Nexter in ordert o develop the next iteration oft he Leopard Panzer to replace the Leopard 2 and Leclerc.
Ist (jokingly) called Le Leo and might even happen during this century.

There is also talk today about a new Self Propelled Artillery (unneccessary IMO, just upgrade the PzH 2000), Maritime Patrol Aircraft (good, Germanys P-3C Orion saga is an ongoing desaster), ‚modernization‘ of the Tiger helicotper (the less said the better) more cyber/comm stuff and a new attempt for a European UCAV. The UCAV will be a long term project, Germany is currently in the process of aquiring Herons with a strike capability from Israel. Or they’ll try again after the elections depending on what the next government thinks to be precise.

Most importantely and this is why i post this here, they actually announced a new joint effort to develop a ‚new genernation‘ european fighter jet to replace the ‚current tactical air fleets‘ of both countries.
Most of the German media is reporting it tob e a specific replacement of the Eurofighter and while it may very well come to that, i think first and foremost its aimed at replacing the Tornado on the German side.
Given the severe budgetary and politically constraints in Germany especially, they’ll end up with one single fighter project eventually anyway. So not really important.
Of course they’ll want other European countries to join the effort as well, worked so well with the Eurofighter and pretty much every other European defense project in recent years.

But think of it what you will – first and foremost it means, any effort for a German or even French procurement of the F-35 is dead in the water. It’ll never happen, European unity in face of Brexit and Trump is too important.

edit on 13-7-2017 by mightmight because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 12:23 PM
a reply to: mightmight

They're talking about this being available around 2040 or beyond. Meanwhile, the Tornado is seeing a worse and worse mission capable rate and needs to be replaced. They can't wait until 2040.

They're supposed to decide next year how to go about replacing the Tornado.
edit on 7/13/2017 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 03:09 PM
Well yeah but i fear you underestimate the politics involved.
In theory you are completely right, the Tornado needs tob e replaced, it needs to happen rather sooner than later and the F-35 is a great fit.

But I cant see a German procurement of an US Fighter Jet when they are working on multiple (dont forget the UCAV) european projects. This is not the US, the needs of the Luftwaffe dont matter at all for the politicans deciding this issue. First and foremost they’ll be looking at how the local industry will profit from this project. And ressources are finite. There is no way they’ll decide to finance a multi billion european fighter development project and buy ~60 F-35&Support from the US.

The Luftwaffe might want that to happen, but it wont. There is no real political will to finance two manned fighter projects. Sadly there is even no real political will to have an actual combat capable Air Force in Germany. There is a political will to have a great european unity project and to funnel money to the local defense industry. Thats it.

What i think will happen at this point regarding the Tornado:
There will be a renewed push for an armed drone capability after the next election. They’ll probably merge the Tornado successor with this effort, simply because they can develop and procure european drones relativley fast. Its not like the Tornados are done at this point anyway. If they really want to and upgrade them yet again, they can push 2030. More than enough to get a Euro UCAV going.

Alternatively they’ll end buying some more Eurofighters to replace the Tornados. This would actually make sense, reducing support costs and all. Anything but F-35 really. They’ll end up buying Rafales before they go American in the current political climate unfortunately.

I think this is insane (and i didnt think they would try this to be honest), it will greatly harm the French and German Air Force in the long run, but what can you do. The Luftwaffe sure doesnt want this.

On the other hand, tob e frank here, the Luftwaffe couldnt use ~ 60 new F-35 properly anyway. Just take a look at the current dreadful readiness rates. I dont have an english source for this but as for 2016 of the 93 Tornados only 62 were actually deployed tot he tactical air wings. Of those only 28 aircraft were reported as combat ready to the Bundestag by the DOD. The Eurofighter came in at 43 out of 123 aircraft.
If you know anything about how they report readiness rate within the DOD you’ll know that this numbers are bs as as well.

Anyway, its not just because the airframes are old. Thats part of it but more importantely, the whole system is just a utter and complete mess and every reform makes it worse. They dont have the proper administrative infrastructure, personell, money and hardware anymore to properly maintain a combat capable fighter fleet.
Most logistic and support work is contracted out to defense companies, there is no strategic spare parts / ammunition reserve or something like that anymore, there is a severe lack of qualified personell (especially combat ready pilots if minimum neccessary flying hours), bureaucracy reigns supreme and the reforms of defense minister de Maiziere (current minister of the interior) wrecked havoc.
The entire thing is one big charade, it would fall apart if they had to deploy just one full tactical wing for actual combat missions.

So even if its painfull to admit, the best thing for the Luftwaffe would be to get rid of the Tornado without a replacement jet. Just close those units down and focus everything they have left on the Eurofighter.

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 09:05 PM
I cant think of anything worse than a Franco-German partnership, its doomed to fail as both parties think they deserve more share than the other. Its all smiles as they try and drag Europe into a closer union but there is a large resentment under the surface, it reminds me of Animal Farm and France and Germany are starting to walk on two legs.

posted on Jul, 13 2017 @ 11:49 PM
By the time their 5th gen comes online the US's 6th gen should be near IOC.

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