Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Germany request secret briefing on the F-35...This move makes no sense...

via Reuters.
The German Air Force this month sent the U.S. military a written request for classified data on the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet as it gears up to replace its current fleet of fighter jets from 2025 to 2035.

The letter, sent by the Air Force's planning command and seen by Reuters, makes clear that the German government has not yet authorized a procurement program and is not committed to any particular aircraft to replace its current warplanes.

It said the defense ministry would carry out "an in-depth evaluation of market available solutions, including the F-35, later this year," with a formal "letter of request" to be issued in coming months.

Germany's interest in the F-35 - the Pentagon's most advanced warplane and its costliest procurement program - may surprise some given that it is part of the four-nation consortium that developed the fourth-generation Eurofighter Typhoon, which continues to compete for new orders.

The Eurofighter is built by Airbus (AIR.PA) as well as Britain's BAE Systems (BAES.L) and Leonardo (LDOF.MI) of Italy.

Germany will need to replace its current fleet of fourth-generation warplanes - Tornadoes in use since 1981 and Eurofighters - between 2025 and 2035. The F-35 is considered a fifth-generation fighter given stealth capabilities that allow it to evade enemy radars.

Berlin's letter also comes amid growing tensions between the West and Russia over Moscow's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, with NATO officials saying that Russian naval activity now exceeds levels seen even during the Cold War.

Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and Italy - key NATO allies of Germany - are already buying the F-35 fighter jet to replace their current aircraft, and other European countries such as Switzerland, Belgium and Finland are also looking at purchasing the fifth-generation warplane.

Germany's gesture may be aimed at strengthening its hand in negotiations with its European partners over the scale and timing of development of a next generation of European fighters. Any moves to buy a U.S. built warplane could run into political resistance in Germany, which has strong labor unions.
This is strange on too many levels.

German trade unions would go nuts.  The anti-US hawks in the German govt and populations would throw a hissy fit.  Sales of the Eurofighter would plummet (they might anyway once this news becomes widespread) and a future Franco-German fighter effort will be endangered (if it isn't already).

Honestly the only thing that makes me think this isn't an outright joke is the timeframe.  2025-2035 should be about the time that the F-35 (if it ever) starts to work right.

The problem for the Germans and their planning?  The US will be moving on to a 6th gen fighter.  The Germans will be buying ancient tech for their air force.

Yeah...this just doesn't make sense.

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