Germany to spend $10.5bn on F-35 fighter jets

Purchase reflects Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s pledge to boost German spending on defence

Italian Air Force F35s during the Falcon Strike 2022 exercises in Italy. EPA
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Germany is set to buy 35 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets for €10 billion ($10.5bn), according to a government document.

After Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s pledge to boost defence spending, the money will come from a debt-financed €100 billion special fund the German leader announced shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.

Germany is set to take delivery between 2026 and 2029, said the document, seen by Bloomberg.

The cost includes items such as air-to-ground missiles and ground infrastructure, it said.

Mr Scholz pledged in a speech to Parliament after Russia’s attack that Germany would invest “more than” 2 per cent of gross domestic product annually in defence, aided by the special fund.

An Italian Air Force combat aircraft F-35 during exercise Falcon Strike 2022, in Amendola, Italy, on November 21. EPA

Bottlenecks at defence companies and other procurement problems have hampered the spending drive.

Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht recently revised the target to 2 per cent of GDP and said Berlin would reach it “on average in the next five years".

Germany’s failure to reach the 2 per cent target agreed on by Nato has been a source of friction with the US, particularly under former president Donald Trump.

Updated: December 05, 2022, 12:52 AM