DefenseNews re. German Tornado, fears over costs as Britain ditches its aircraft.
Keeping the aging aircraft current is shaping up to be a challenging undertaking for the Luftwaffe. The fewer aircraft in the tri-national program, Britain/Germany/Italy, have led to “significant technical, logistical and financial risk” in maintaining the 1980s era fighter-bomber. Germany originally purchased 357 aircraft; 93 are still in the inventory today, 88 of which belong to the Luftwaffe.
Italy retires its Tornado in 2027, Germany decided in 2016 to extend the life of the Tornado through 2035, with an assessment planned this summer of implementation plans to that end. .
Last November German talk about introducing a new, fixed scheme for financial contributions, abandoning the practice of going by the number of airframes used in each nation (presume if accepted Britain will still pay though to 2035 to support the German aircraft), German unsure what financial contributions can be expected of the Italians (not a surprise, looks like German wishful thinking though one never knows, it will depend on the small print in tri-service agreement, re. para. below, may be some horse trading agreement can be reached).
“The UK has a large number of airframes left in storage in a variety of conditions and including various degrees of upgrades between GR.1 and the latest GR.4 ‘diamond standard’ as flown over Iraq and Syria,“These will be a very valuable source of spare parts and consumables for the Luftwaffe Tornado force once the RAF fully retired the type,” “Since the Tornado manufacturing lines have long since closed, spare parts are expensive and often time consuming to procure, so Germany will no doubt appreciate access to the RAF’s stock of frontline and reserve airframes to cannibalise.”
German digitization of the head-up-display likely will require the costly replacement of the aircraft’s main computer, that upgrade, which is at risk of coming late, is prerequisite for the installation of a new NATO standard IFF, mandatory Jan. 1, 2019. The new capability, IFF Mode 5/S Level 1, is currently behind schedule, which means the Tornados could potentially only operate under special authorizations, if at all, in 2019 and beyond. The good news is that other nations also appear to have trouble with the new IFF.
PS Tied up with planned replacement of the German Tornado, it is said NATO nuclear sharing dictates that Germany buy the F-35 to carry the latest B61 nuclear bomb, the head of Luftwaffe was recently sacked for advocating F-35 buy. Understand modified Typhoon has been ruled out or may be new Franco German fighter, at moment speculation.https://www.defensenews.com/global/2018 ... ts-planes/