Germany Opts for Fort Worth Over Italy for F-35 Assembly

Germany's 35 F-35A stealth fighters will be assembled in Fort Worth, Texas, instead of Cameri, Italy, with deliveries expected to start in 2026. The $8.4 billion acquisition will replace the Luftwaffe's aging Panavia Tornado aircraft and strengthen Germany's position within NATO.

author-image
Trim Correspondents
New Update
Germany Opts for Fort Worth Over Italy for F-35 Assembly

Germany Opts for Fort Worth Over Italy for F-35 Assembly

The German Ministry of Defense has announced that the 35 F-35A stealth fighters ordered for the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) will be assembled at Lockheed Martin's facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, instead of Cameri, Italy. This decision comes as a surprise, as initial assumptions pointed towards the assembly taking place at the jointly operated Leonardo and Lockheed Martin facilities in Cameri.

Why this matters: This decision highlights the growing importance of military alliances and defense modernization in the face of global security threats. The acquisition of F-35A stealth fighters will significantly enhance Germany's military capabilities and strengthen its position within NATO, having broader implications for European security and stability.

Germany finalized the order for 35 F-35A Lightning II aircraft in 2022, with a total value of $8.4 billion. These advanced fighters are set to replace the aging Panavia Tornado aircraft currently in service with the Luftwaffe. The acquisition forms part of the defense procurement budget strengthening program initiated by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The F-35A version has recently received approval from the US Air Force to carryB61-12 thermonuclear bombs, addressing a critical capability gap for the Luftwaffe. However, the production and delivery of the fighters have encountered delays due to issues with the"joint simulation environments,"which are crucial elements for the initial operational evaluation of the F-35.

Large-scale production of the F-35A fighters was authorized on March 12 by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions and Sustainment, Dr. William A. LaPlante. Deliveries are expected to commence in 2026, with the first aircraft arriving in 2027.

The decision to assemble the German F-35As in Fort Worth rather than Cameri may be influenced by the production capacity of the respective facilities. The Cameri facilities, spanning over 101 acres with 11 assembly stations, are the only certified F-35 production site in Europe. However, their current production volume is limited to 15 aircraft per year, in contrast to the 130 planes that can be manufactured annually in Fort Worth.

The German F-35A acquisition represents a significant step in modernizing the Luftwaffe's fighter fleet and ensuring its compatibility with NATO allies. As deliveries are set to begin in 2026, the German Air Force eagerly awaits the arrival of these cutting-edge stealth fighters, which will enhance its operational capabilities and strengthen its position within the alliance.