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US State Dept Approves $8.4B F-35 Sale to Germany

The US State Department has approved the potential $8.4 billion sale of 35 F-35s to Germany to replace outdated fighter jets supporting NATO’s nuclear sharing missions in Europe.

The foreign military sale would also include munitions and related equipment.

The Lockheed Martin-built fighter would provide an advantage over the German Air Force’s decades-old PA-200 Tornado.

Last March, German Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Ingo Gerhartz and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced the intent to procure the new F-35 aircraft in a reversal of a previous decision to purchase Boeing F-18s, Defense News reported.

“The proposed sale will improve Germany’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a suitable replacement for Germany’s retiring Tornado aircraft fleet in support of NATO’s nuclear sharing mission, the centerpiece for deterrence in Europe,” the State Department wrote.

Germany’s Military Spending Spree

Germany’s investment in F-35s is part of a major push to modernize its armed forces that was prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged to invest 100 billion euros ($112 billion) in the underfunded Bundeswehr.

After years of criticism that the country wasn’t shouldering enough of NATO’s financial burden, Scholz vowed to spend more than two percent of Germany’s gross domestic product annually on defense, surpassing NATO’s target.

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