The U.S. State Department has approved a potential sale of over $8 billion worth of F-35 aircraft to Germany, moving closer to providing Berlin with new fighter aircraft for nuclear deterrence missions.
The State Department on Thursday announced the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) approval for up to 35 F-35A aircraft, along with munitions and related equipment, for a total estimated cost of $8.4 billion.
These fighter jets, built by Lockheed Martin, will take over by 2030 the nuclear weapons mission from the German Air Force’s aging fleet of PA-200 Tornado aircraft, based at Tactical Air Wing 33 in Büchel, Germany.
German Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced in March the decision to procure the joint strike fighter, in a major reversal from previous plans to buy Boeing-made F-18 aircraft.
Alongside Lockheed Martin, the principal contractors involved with this F-35 sale include Pratt & Whitney, providing 37 F135 engines, as well as Boeing and Raytheon Technologies. Proposed munitions packages include the AIM120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM); GBU-53 small diameter bombs; AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles-Extended Range (JASSM-ER); Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits; and AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles.