German military gets bids from Airbus, US govt for Tornado fighter jet replacement

The German Defense Ministry on Tuesday received bids from Airbus and the US government, which represents Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for the replacement of its fleet of 90 ageing Tornado fighter jets. The planes were developed in the 1960s. The competition is worth billions of dollars to the winning bidder. It also could have consequences for a separate, fledgling Franco-German program to develop a next-generation Eurofighter that will eventually replace the Eurofighter Typhoon, Reuters reported. Airbus is pitching the Eurofighter, a joint program with Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo, and says it could take over the Tornado missions when that aircraft is phased out, starting in 2025. The German ministry plans to give priority to the European warplane to continue use of a proven system. However, the military has also asked for information about Lockheed’s F-35 fighter jet and the F-15E and F/A-18E/F jets built by Boeing.