Aircraft by 2025?
In the first issue of the ILA Show Daily, the Mönch editorial team reported from Fort Worth, TX and Luke Air Force Base, AZ, on the F-35 and some of the aspects of the programme that could be construed as important for the current evaluation of the aircraft as a replacement for the Luftwaffe’s TORNADO fleet (for older story see here).
Subsequent to the recent visit, Mönch was able to ask Mike Howe, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics’ German Campaign Lead, what he felt was the probable timeframe in which Germany could receive F-35s if a reasonably rapid decision in the aircraft’s favour were to be made.
“The F-35 is the ideal platform to deliver and meet the Bundeswehr’s requirements, and supports Germany’s aspiration to operate as a fully interoperable member of NATO and coalition operations. The F-35 delivers on ALL mission requirements outlined in the (Federal Ministry of Defence) RFI to replace the TORNADO – most importantly, the F-35 provides a survivable deterrent platform that can successfully operate in highly contested airspace. Lockheed Martin recognises industrial return is important to the success of the F-35 as the TORNADO Replacement aircraft and is in dialogue with German industry to identify Direct Industrial opportunities and Essential Security Interests projects that align with the (Federal Ministry of Defence’s) Strategy on Strengthening the Defence Industry. It would be best to ask German officials for their timeline, but we believe this could be late 2020, for first aircraft delivery in 2025,” he told MONCh.
The Mönch Show Daily carries an F-35 story each day, reporting on programme, training, operational and manufacturing issues from the recent visit to Forth Worth and Luke AFB.