The Bundeswehr intends to purchase F-35 fighter planes. In exchange, elements of the hull will be manufactured in Germany; negotiations between an arms business and the Free State of Saxony are already underway.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

Saxony might soon be producing center fuselage sections for the F-35 fighter jet. This is based on information obtained by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. After that, negotiations have already begun between the Free State of Saxony and the arms conglomerate Rheinmetall. This might include the development of a manufacturing hall with an integrated assembly line. It would produce up to 400 center fuselage components for F-35 combat planes. Yet, it is still uncertain whether an agreement will be achieved in the end.

When questioned about the conversations, Rheinmetall declined to comment. When questioned by the MDR, government spokesperson Ralph Schreiber only mentioned Saxony as a desirable business location. "As a result, the state government is in continual touch with a diverse range of enterprises from Germany and beyond regarding investments in the Free State of Saxony," Schreiber explained.

Nevertheless, for reasons of confidentially, we do not disclose any information about potential or existing initiatives, as decisions on site growth, research and development projects, or new settlements are made solely by the individual firms.

-Saxony's government spokesperson, Ralph Schreiber

Rheinmetall revealed in mid-February that it has signed a letter of intent with Lookheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to produce F-35 fuselage parts. The collaboration would entail the creation of an integrated production line for "fuselage center pieces," according to Rheinmetall. Offset restrictions, which require related enterprises in the buyer's nation to invest in sections of the manufacturing, are typical practice in many arms sales.

F-35 to replace Tornado

The F-35 fighter aircraft is intended to replace the Tornado aircraft operated by the Bundeswehr beginning in 2028. The F-35 is now regarded as the most advanced fighter plane in the world. The stealth capability makes the aircraft difficult for enemy radar to identify. Meanwhile, the so-called nuclear involvement will be ensured by the acquisition of the planes. NATO's military strategy includes nuclear sharing. It requires that member governments have ready the technical criteria for the use of nuclear weapons, as well as that American nuclear weapons be kept on their territory. In an emergency, the F-35 could potentially transfer nuclear weapons from the United States.

The federal government agreed to purchase 35 fighter planes from the United States in the middle of last year. The 100 billion euro plan for the Bundeswehr will cover expenses in excess of eight billion euros. Nevertheless, media reports in December suggested that the expenses may reach 10 billion euros. The multi-role combat aircraft is purchased through a process known as foreign military sales. The federal government enters into a direct contract with the US government in such a circumstance. This should expedite the procurement of guns.

According to MDR information, Air Force personnel are now in contact with one of the corporations implicated in the USA. The Air Force verified this in response to an MDR request. According to a spokesperson, the purpose of the tour was not just to exchange knowledge about the F35, but also to better understand the weapon system in all of its components. "This implies that training in the appropriate areas may be changed before the aircraft joins the Bundeswehr," the spokesperson explained.

Saxony appears to be encouraging weapons colonies at the moment. Thus far, the Free State has had little arms industry production facilities. Rheinmetall has lately revealed that it is looking into building a powder facility in Saxony. This would cost between 700 and 800 million euros. The present state of the discussions is unknown.

But, according to MDR information, a settlement in the Grossenhain/Riesa region is presently being discussed. A proposed settlement at Delitzsch in North Saxony is becoming less plausible. According to MDR sources, if the F-35 is brought to Saxony, the fuselage production might be based there. 

The Saxon state administration also refused to confirm this. "Even in terms of the potential building of a powder agent plant, no specifications or preliminary choices on a prospective location have been made," said government spokesperson Schreiber. Von Schreiber believes that in this situation, too, a decision should be taken by a firm rather than by the authorities of the Free State of Saxony.

Previous Post Next Post