Germany Sees 8.86 Billion Euro Cost to Operate Tornado Jets to 2030 (excerpt)
(Source: Reuters; published April 10, 2019)
By Andrea Shalal
BERLIN --- The German Defence Ministry estimates it will cost nearly 9 billion euros to keep its aging fleet of 93 Tornado fighter jets flying until 2030, according to a classified document provided to German lawmakers this week.

The steep cost forecast includes 5.64 billion euros to maintain the warplanes, which first entered service in 1983, 1.62 billion euros to design replacements for obsolete parts, and 1.58 billion euros to procure them, according to the document, which was viewed by Reuters.

Germany in January decided to pick either the Eurofighter or Boeing Co’s F/A-18E/F fighter jet to replace its Tornado fleet in coming years, dropping Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter from a tender worth billions of euros.

But neither the F/A-18 nor the Eurofighter, built by Airbus, Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo SpA, are currently certified to carry U.S. nuclear weapons, as required under Germany’s obligations to NATO. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Germany needs to operate nuclear-capable tactical aircraft not because of its obligations to NATO, as wrongly stated above, but to the United States, under a bilateral agreement signed in the 1960s.
A P.R. campaign is currently being waged in Germany to overturn Berlin’s decision to drop the F-35 from the competition to replace the Tornado, on the grounds that certifying another fighter to carry nuclear bombs would be unnecessarily expensive, and that the Tornado is too expensive to operate into the 2030s.
The goal is to make the F-35 appear the quickest and least expensive successor to Tornado.
However, this overlooks the fact that the F-35 has not yet qualified for the nuclear role; that its acquisition by Germany would require a new training pipeline for pilots and ground personnel as well as extensive upgrades to its air bases.
Finally, also overlooked is the fact that the US Air Force in FY2018 paid $143.3 million for each of its F-35s, even though Lockheed continues to claim that it will cost $80 million next year.

As politicians are however unlikely to delve very deep into claims the F-35’s price is dropping, and will soon undercut the cost of keeping Tornado in service, there is a strong risk they are being misled and guided to a wrong decision on the basis of patently false information.)


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