Tornado Planes on Display at Museums But in Service in German Air Force – Report
(Source: Sputnik News; posted Dec 17, 2019)
Germany’s defense minister had promised she would decide before the end of 2018 which fighter would replace the Luftwaffe’s Tornado strike aircraft, but no decision has been announced, and Airbus and the US continue to lobby. (GE MoD photo)
The Tornado aircraft were developed jointly by Italy, the United Kingdom and West Germany during the Cold War, but the warplanes have not been produced since 1998.

Despite Tornado fighter-bombers already on display in museums in the US, Bulgaria and even Germany itself, these warplanes are still in service with the German army, and the country's Defence Ministry has yet to decide on their replacement, according to Die Welt.

The newspaper recalled that the Tornado planes, along with the newer Eurofighter aircraft, remain the backbone of the country's air force. The Tornados, which has been in service since the 1980s, are expected to remain in the German Air Force until 2025.

However, Die Welt reported, the process of replacing the Tornados is by no means guaranteed, not least due to the German Defence Ministry's "political contradictions".

While German Air Force officials favour the notion of buying US-made warplanes, Airbus is trying to compel Germany to purchase its Eurofighters; the company claims this will be in line with the need to support European aircraft manufacturing.

"It is no longer possible to delay with the decision on the replacement as the costs of operating old aircraft are growing, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to provide them with the necessary spare parts," Die Welt reported.

What's more, due to the lack of spare parts and the German Defence Ministry's reluctance to train pilots in the US, the process of preparing Tornado crews "becomes unreasonably long", according to Die Welt.

"German Air Force inspector Lieutenant-General Ingo Gerhartz admitted that he would prefer to see Tornado only in a museum of military history, which is why it is important for the country's Defence Ministry to quickly resolve the issue of their replacement", the newspaper concluded.

Panavia Tornado is a multirole combat aircraft with variable sweep wing, developed in the early 1970s by the German company Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm together with the British company British Aerospace and Italy's Alenia Aeronautica.

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