The German Ministry of Defense (MoD) has approved the procurement of 35 F-35 Lightning II aircraft from the US-based aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin.

The decision was announced after the German Parliament’s Budget Committee meeting on 14 December. It was initially announced in March by Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht and was pending with the Parliament for approval.

The committee has sanctioned approximately $8.83bn (€8.3bn) from the German Armed Forces’ (Bundeswehr) Special Fund for this procurement.

After the committee’s approval, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support’s (BAAINBw) vice-president Annette Lehnigk-Emden signed a letter of offer and acceptance.

This signing, which also includes a contract offer, will advance the procurement process into the implementation phase.

The deal falls under the US Government’s foreign military sale route.

Lockheed Martin F-35 programme vice-president and general manager Bridget Lauderdale said: “Germany’s participation ensures F-35’s European alliance continues to strengthen and grow through interoperability with NATO and ally nations.”

Apart from 35 F-35A stealth multi-role combat jets, the purchase package will include associated role-specific mission equipment, engines, spare and exchange parts, and ammunition.

This package will also include related technical, training, armament and logistical support.

The new jets will replace the German Air Force’s existing Tornado fighter-bomber aircraft after its retirement from the fleet. 

According to Bundeswehr, the delivery of the first eight F-35A aircraft is expected to begin by 2026.

Once delivered, the fighter jets will be stationed in the US for the initial pilot and ground staff training for German forces. 

Later, the aircraft will be based at Büchel Air Base in Eifel, Germany, to support nuclear-sharing missions in times of emergency.