Germany to Procure Super Hornets, Growlers and Typhoons to Replace Its Tornado Jets

Germany is planning to procure Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers, as well as additional Eurofighter Typhoons, to replace the German Air Force (Luftwaffe)’s aging fleet of Tornado combat aircraft.

According to reports, Luftwaffe will be ordering 30 Super Hornet fighter jets and 15 EA-18G electronic attack aircraft.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer emailed her U.S. counterpart Mark Esper on Thursday to inform him of the decision the procure the jets, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday.

Kramp-Karrenbauer’s actions may upset the Social Democrats, the junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition, as she didn’t inform them before making her decision, Der Spiegel report said. Kramp-Karrenbauer’s predecessor, Ursula von der Leyen, had offered a compromise to the SPD under which Germany would buy a combination of U.S. fighters and the Eurofighter Typhoon manufactured by Airbus SE, the report added.

Luftwaffe currently operates the Tornado IDS interdictor/strike fighter-bomber variant and the Tornado ECR electronic combat/reconnaissance variant devoted to Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) missions. Tornado aircraft operated by Germany, as well as Italy, are capable of delivering U.S. B61 nuclear gravity bombs, which are made available through NATO nuclear sharing agreement.

Germany plans to use the new Super Hornets to fill the NATO requirement to field fighter aircraft capable of dropping the B61 nuclear gravity bomb. The Growlers are being procured to replace the Tornado ECRs.

German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon and Panavia Tornado Combat Aircraft
German Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon and Panavia Tornado combat aircraft. Photo by Airbus | Dr. Andreas Zeitler.
EA-18G Growler and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets
A Boeing EA-18G Growler, an F/A-18F Super Hornet, and an F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft (front to back) flying in formation. Photo Credit: Boeing.

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