Germany requests classified US data18/05/17Defence
The German Air Force has sent a written request for classified data from the US military on the F-35 fighter jet.
Germany, which is preparing to replace its ageing fleet of fighter jets, has not authorised a procurement plan, nor has it committed to a specific platform to replace its fourth-generation warplanes. The letter noted that the Defence Ministry would hold ‘an in-depth evaluation of market available solutions, including the F-35, later this year.’
Despite the potential resistance by labour unions if Germany were to purchase the US-made fighters, military sources say buying the F-35 could make sense for Germany given both steady declines in the cost of the US jet and technical challenges with the Eurofighter aircraft.
Key NATO allies of Germany – the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and Italy – are already purchasing the F-35 to replace their own out-dated fleets, and other European countries are also reportedly considering purchasing the F-35.
According to Reuters, the letter read: ‘In order to understand (the) F-35’s cutting-edge technologies, the German Air Force is requesting a classified brief of the F-35’s capabilities in general and especially concerning sensor suites, information management and operational capabilities.’
Since Germany is not part of the international consortium that developed the F-35, the US government must approve the request for classified data. The F-35 programme office in the Pentagon said it received the letter and was ‘working to support the German Air Force request.’