GERMAN DEFENCE minister Volker Ruhe has presented Parliament with a recommendation to increase the German purchase of Eurofighter EF2000s from 140 to 180 by making its first commitment to buy the ground-attack version .

The move had been expected, as Bonn struggled to find an alternative to allow it to maintain a 30% workshare in the Eurofighter programme, while only acquiring sufficient aircraft to entitle it to 23%.

The extra-aircraft solution brings Germany's workshare in the programme to just under 30%, and the balance could be made up by compensation to the UK from Germany in other aerospace fields.

Ruhe went before the Parliamentary committee on 17 January, saying that the extra 40 aircraft are needed to replace Panavia Tornados in the strike role between 2012 and 2015, rather than adding to the 140 air-defence variants of the aircraft already to be purchased.

The move, provided that it wins Parliamentary approval, offers a face-saving solution to Ruhe, who was responsible for the earlier reduction of Germany's requirement, from 250 aircraft to 140.

Daimler-Benz Aerospace, the German Eurofighter contractor, welcomes the move. Parliamentary response has been mixed.

Source: Flight International