Eurofighter Delays Threaten Germany’s NATO Contribution

BERLIN --- Delays in adapting the Eurofighter jet for air-to-ground operations could make it impossible for Germany to fulfill its promise to contribute to NATO's rapid reaction force in 2018, a German government report seen by Reuters suggests.

Originally developed for air-to-air combat, Airbus's Eurofighter was only later adapted for bombing, the role in which Germany had planned to use it next year in its contribution to the NATO Response Force.

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According to the confidential annex to the German government's April report, the aircraft's ground-bombing abilities will only be tested in September this year, meaning time for completing testing will be very short.

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Germany has already made heavy use of its Eurofighter fleet in airspace defense roles in Germany and above the Baltic region, where they are contributing to NATO patrols of a region that is increasingly subject to Russian probing.

Germany's existing Eurofighter fleet had clocked up 76,000 hours' flight time by the end of last year, the report said, noting that improvements were needed to the jets' self-defense, night vision and communications capabilities.

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It highlighted other shortcomings, including a shortage of computing power that made it impossible to install the latest radars, while munitions for the aircraft, including air-to-air missiles and precision bombs, were hard to obtain. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.

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