Handelsblatt and other German media reported, the German Armed Force’s aging Tornado fleet will be replaced by up to 90 additional Eurofighter Typhoons and 45 F-18 Super Hornets from the US manufacturer Boeing. Adding that the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets will be procured for both electronic warfare and nuclear strike missions. The internal plan prepared by the German Armed Force has already been discussed with industry, but Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) has yet to approve the plan.
If approved, Germany would buy 30 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets to replace the Tornado in the nuclear strike mission, as modifying a US fighter would be faster and simpler than modifying the Eurofighter Typhoon. Germany would also buy 15 EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft to replace the Tornado ECR (Electric Combat / Reconnaissance) variant, assuming the US government would accept. Additional Eurofighters would take on the other missions now carried out by the Tornado fleet, mainly reconnaissance and ground attack.
According to Handelsblatt, that decision could have been motivated by some experts that do not trust Airbus to complete the development of the Eurofighter Typhoon ECR in a short time. The choice of the F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler sparked some controversies in Germany as industry and government officials argued that four billion euros would be withdrawn from German industry and its suppliers, damaging the industry and causing also higher costs for the taxpayers.
The German Armed Force currently operates a total of 234 combat aircraft, including 141 Eurofighters from Airbus and 93 Tornado jets built by the European Panavia consortium. The Tornado, which was launched almost 40 years ago, is intended for air attack, tactical reconnaissance and electronic warfare as well as for nuclear strike using American-supplied gravity nuclear bombs. The Tornado was developed and built by Panavia Aircraft GmbH, a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace (previously British Aircraft Corporation), MBB of West Germany, and Aeritalia of Italy. Due to its multirole design, it was able to replace several different fleets of aircraft in the adopting air forces