Germany BACKLASH: Fury brewing at Merkel’s fighter jet upgrade plan – ‘What about NATO?’,

Germany has come under fire for its decision to drop the F-35 stealth fighter as part of the upgrade of its airforce.

Lockheed Martin, which makes the warplane, described the move as a “retrograde step” and warned the country’s ability to operate at the same level of as its NATO allies would be compromised. Germany will pick either the Eurofighter or Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter jet to replace its ageing fleet of Tornado warplanes. Defence ministers will make a final decision after receiving detailed information from Boeing and Airbus about the aircraft, which must be able to carry US nuclear weapons to fulfil Germany’s obligations to NATO.

The decision was seen as a big setback for Lockheed, the top US arms maker, which had hoped to add to recent F-35 sales to other European countries, including Belgium.

Its European vice-president Jonathan Hoyle said Berlin’s failure to opt for the F-35 had raised concerns among allies and prompted the question: “What does it mean for NATO?” Läs artikel