Updated June 6th, 2024 at 15:25 IST

Germany Expands Eurofighter Fleet in Response to Escalating Regional Security Challenges

Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced the proposal at the Berlin Air Show amid heightened defense spending due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
Germany is contemplating purchasing 20 more Eurofighter combat aircraft to boost its defense capabilities and support the aerospace industry. | Image:Eurofighter Typhoon

COLOGNE, Germany: The German government is mulling the procurement of 20 more Eurofighter combat aircraft in addition to the 38 already on order. This move is intended to bolster the country’s defensive posture while supporting the aerospace industry, according to Chancellor Olaf Scholz. He made the announcement Wednesday on the opening day of the Berlin Air Show, where Germany’s major contractors are eager to showcase the impact of tens of billions of extra euros for defence, prompted by Russia’s war against Ukraine. The increased defence spending has jolted an industry from which politicians have traditionally sought a healthy distance.  

The 20 new Eurofighters, expected to cost about €2 billion (U.S. $2.2 billion), will help aircraft manufacturer Airbus keep the production line humming “continuously,” Scholz said. He also hinted at additional “perspectives” on future exports of the jet, made in conjunction with the U.K., Italy, and Spain. This statement was interpreted by some industry officials as suggesting yet another sizable tranche of orders may be forthcoming. Besides the four core nations, the air forces of Austria, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar also have Eurofighters in their fleets.  


Germany's Eurofighter Purchase Reflects Shifting Defense Strategies  

Germany’s newest stance on Saudi Arabia is that the monarchy will be allowed to buy more Eurofighters through Britain as the seller. Airbus is currently working on a tranche of 38 Eurofighters of the Quadriga configuration at a cost of almost $6 billion. The last of those jets is slated for delivery in 2030. The issue of exports to some Middle Eastern nations with questionable human rights records periodically leads to political flare-ups in Germany and, by extension, to friction with European co-producers less squeamish about such things.


Meanwhile, Germany is involved in developing a next-generation aircraft under the banner of the French-German-Spanish Future Combat Air System (FCAS). Whatever type of aircraft that effort ends up producing is meant to see the light of day in 2040, though that date appears to be slipping. To hedge against additional delays or even program failure, officials in Germany and France are incrementally upgrading their legacy fleets — the Eurofighter in Germany and the Rafale in France — with new capabilities, though leaders have said there is no alternative to FCAS.  

The additional order for Eurofighter will provide a significant boost to Airbus, ensuring a steady production line and supporting jobs within the aerospace sector. This move is seen as critical for maintaining industrial capabilities and technological expertise within Europe. Furthermore, the German government's decision underscores a commitment to strengthening national defence in response to the heightened threat environment in Europe. 


Published June 6th, 2024 at 15:25 IST