Germany is a key player in NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangements. In order to maintain this role, the Luftwaffe needs to acquire a nuclear-capable F-35 to replace its aging fleet of Tornado strike aircraft. The Russian threat is too dire and the need to restore the credibility of NATO’s extended deterrent too pressing to tolerate industrial base arguments, however specious. NATO solidarity, the sanctity of the collective defense commitment and the need to prioritize modernization of the Alliance’s nuclear deterrent trump outdated demands to support European industrial production. The stakes involved are too great for such a small-minded approach to choosing Germany’s next nuclear-capable aircraft. I have written about this issue for RealClearDefense here.
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