Lockheed Purchase

Buying American

resized Defense minister Ursula von der Leyen A400 airplane Airbus source Wolfgang Kumm DPA 61469474
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen wants to buy U.S. transport planes in addition to the European A400M of Airbus.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Martin Lockheed and other airplane manufacturers might win more orders if countries such as Germany and France face delays in the delivery of Airbus A400M planes.

  • Facts


    • The German military wants to phase out its over 40-year-old Transall transporters by 2021. That has required it to buy alternative planes such as the Airbus A400M or Lockheed Martin’s Hercules.
    • Repeated delays have plagued the delivery of the A400M transporter, whose development has been funded by a consortium of seven European countries, including France and Germany.
    • Germany has so far only received five of the 53 cargo aircraft from Airbus, a Toulouse, France-headquartered company originally founded as a Franco-German aviation consortium in 1969.
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It’s not often that Europe’s largest economy turns to the United States for military hardware. This time, it seems Germany’s military may have run out of patience with its homegrown alternative.

The German air force plans to buy four to six of Lockheed Martin’s C-130J transport planes, also known as Hercules, a defence ministry spokesman confirmed Wednesday. That’s in addition to 53 A400M aircraft it has already ordered – but failed to receive on time – from the European consortium Airbus.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen first revealed the decision during a visit with her French counterpart Tuesday in Paris, where she signed a deal to have the planes stationed in France. It comes after months of speculation over whether the German defense ministry, which wants to phase out its over 40-year-old Transall transporters by 2021, would buy the Hercules plane from the U.S.-listed firm.

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