Germany's negotiation to purchase 45 F / A-18E / F SUPER HORNET multi-role fighters to replace the TORNADO IDS / ECR would seem to have reached its final stages (opening photo).
However, this solution appears to respond more to a political rather than a military need.
As our readers will remember, Germany did not want to purchase the 5th generation F-35A LIGHTNING II fighters, thus finding itself in the need to identify a new aircraft capable of performing CAS (Close Air Support) missions in the future, strike in depth and suppression of enemy anti-aircraft defenses.
SUPER HORNETs certainly do not represent the state of the art, compared to the latest generation machines, but would allow Berlin not to have to get involved in the F-35 program without having an adequate economic return for its industry (given the small numbers), avoiding at the same time to irritate Paris, which considers Lockheed Martin's aircraft as one of the many tools with which Americans increase their control over the Allies.
The contract would concern the acquisition of 15 EA-18G GROWLER, for electronic warfare, and 30 F / A-18E / F SUPER HORNET (photo).
The latter aircraft will be those which, in place of the TORNADO IDS, will, if necessary, conduct missions to nuclear strike in deptharmed with B61-12 bombs, the latest addition to the American arsenal of falling nuclear bombs.
The Pentagon, with the B61-12 program, wants to standardize on a single variant, from the current B61-3, B61-4, B-61-7, B61-10 and B61-11, all of which will be decommissioned starting from 2030. These are bombs with calibratable power, that is, with destructive potential ranging from 0,3 to 400 kilotons (for B61-11 only).
The B61-12 is equipped with a programmable head (from 0,3 to 50 kilotons), the tail section, with mobile fins, allows to significantly reduce the CEP (Circular Error Probable). Compared to the previous one, therefore, the B61-12 has a higher precision, even if it does not have the same destructive power (400 kilotons) nor the underground penetration capacity.
The B61-12 will be destined for use (again with the double key formula) also by the other NATO partners that adhere to the Nuclear Sharing, including Italy (our F-35A will be integrated with the new bomb).
In the near future, the B61-12 will be the only American nuclear weapon stored in European bases.
Photo: Bundeswehr / US Navy