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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Germany: after the Tornado, F-35s or the break with the USA?

The problem is represented by atomic deterrence capabilities since 2025

There isn't only the strong criticism of Germany by the US President Donald Trump that he accuses the Berlin government of spending too little for the armed forces, but also Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, Chief of Staff of the Luftwaffe (German Air Force), admitted that aviation has few aircraft available, most of which is in maintenance or stopped due to lack of spare parts. Military investments that have been lacking in recent years and which have led Germany to have a fleet of Panavia Tornado aircraft -the only ones to be equipped if necessary with atomic weapons- obsolete that must be withdrawn from service at the latest by 2025.

What is needed is the substitute. Berlin, together with Airbus, has tried to propose to Washington the idea of a Typhoon that has the possibility to be armed with the American B-61 bombs, but the problem is represented by the fact that the European fighter could hardly carry out missions in a space characterized by a very high anti-aircraft defense density due to the fact that it is a fourth generation aircraft. Moreover, the design and development of a system that allows him to transport and drop -obviously- atomic weapons has never started, and even if he left at the moment for 2025 it wouldn't be realistically ready.

So the solution -which would also be appreciated by Luftwaffe- could be to buy the F-35As that are at the early stages of the nuclear certification process, following the same choice made by Italy and the Netherlands. Or the German choice that would risk to undermine relations with NATO could be to not buy the F-35A and to renounce the US nuclear deterrence, an option that seems hardly viable in the absence of a European army that shares the French forces of the Force de frappe (French nuclear deterrent forces). However, this is not impossible to pursue, because Germany and France intend to develop -through Airbus- a fifth-generation aircraft produced entirely in Europe that goes against the "US" Lightning in the medium term. Meanwhile, the Berlin government will have to find a solution and decide whether to focus on maintaining good relations with NATO and the United States, or whether to go to the political clash.

M/A - 1213405

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