Germany to Buy Fighter Jets From Boeing and Airbus, Report Says

(Bloomberg) -- Germany is planning to replace aging fighter planes with new U.S. jets that can carry atomic bombs as it seeks to bolsters its nuclear defense strategy and maintain its position within NATO.

The country is seeking to close a deal for 45 F-18 jets from Boeing Co. and 93 Eurofighters from Airbus SE, defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in an interview with the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung published Tuesday.

“Nuclear protection is part of the architecture of our security policy,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer. “At some point we will have a world without nuclear weapons. However, as long as these weapons exist, even in countries that are not part of NATO, nuclear participation serves our security.”

The deal means an increase in German defense spending at a time when Europe has been criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump for not meeting targets in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. The U.S. accounts for around 70% of NATO’s defense budget, and Trump has vocally pressed other countries to increase their share.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, 57, has headed the defense ministry since July. She will have to convince opposition parties that investing in security is a good idea at a time when Germany is boosting spending to fight the coronavirus. The planes are meant to replace Germany’s aging fleet of Tornado aircraft.

“It is important to me that we can keep the promises we made to NATO,” she said. “It is one of the largest procurement projects in the next few years.”

Parliament will make a concrete decision about the deal in the next legislative period, according to Kramp-Karrenbauer.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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