Germany approved the EUR€5.5bn purchase of 38 new-build Tranche 4 Eurofighter EF-2000s on November 5, as the air force aims to replace its older Tranche 1 aircraft under Project Quadriga.
As per the current plan, the German Air Force will receive its first Tranche 4 aircraft in 2025, with the final example due to be delivered in 2030. The nation is expected to sign a contract this month for the 38 new-build multi-role fighters, along with associated spares, equipment and tools. This acquisition intends to increase the operational readiness and availability of spare parts for the air force’s EF-2000 fleet.
Project Quadriga was established to replace the German Air Force’s early Tranche 1 Eurofighters, which were procured between 2003 and 2008. The German Ministry of Defence (MOD) outlined that the Tranche 1 aircraft “can only be used for aerial combat” and spare parts are no longer being manufactured for them. It added that the fighters would have required an extensive and costly overhaul to bring them up to the same ‘multi-role’ standard as the more recent Tranche 2 and 3 configurations.
Lt Gen Ingo Gerhartz, Inspector of the German Air Force, said: “This important decision strengthens the capabilities of our air force. By replacing the outdated and maintenance-intensive Tranche 1 aircraft, we are increasing the operational readiness of the Eurofighter fleet and thus our reliability within the [NATO] alliance.”
The new-build Tranche 4 EF-2000s will feature the latest Phase 3 Enhancements (P3E) and will be equipped with the E-Scan active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. In June 2020, the German parliament approved the development, production and integration of the same AESA radar system on the air force’s Tranche 2 and 3 Eurofighters.
Airbus welcomes the decision of the German Parliament to purchase the latest generation of #Eurofighter, Europe’s largest collaborative project in the Defence industry with more than 100.000 jobs across Europe.#DefenceMatters pic.twitter.com/gIIhac4O7x— Airbus Defence (@AirbusDefence) November 5, 2020
The E-Scan radar will enable German EF-2000 pilots to better detect, identify and track both air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. It can handle several targets simultaneously and has a higher immunity to countermeasures and interference.
This acquisition comes as part of a wider purchase of 138 multi-role fighters for the German Air Force, which is seeking to renovate its combat aircraft fleet. In addition to the 38 new-build EF-2000s, Germany intends to acquire a further 55 Eurofighters, 30 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and 15 Boeing EA-18G Growlers to replace its ageing Panavia Tornado IDS/ECR fleet.