US Pushes Sub-Hunting Plane Contract on Germany, Berlin Says it Can’t Afford $1.8 Bln Price Tag

The Biden administration has dispensed with its predecessor’s aggressive diplomatic campaign to get US allies to spend more on defence, but has not dropped the “2 percent target” requiring NATO members to increase defence spending to 2 percent of their GDP by 2024. NATO spent over $1 trillion in 2020, more than the rest of the world combined.

The Pentagon has approved the sale of five Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to Germany, with the deal green lighted even though Berlin considers the planes too expensive to replace its Navy’s ageing stocks of Lockheed P-3C Orions.

The sale’s approval comes in spite of comments by German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer last month that Berlin was not in a position financially to afford new maritime patrol aircraft. German media have reported that the funds required have not been allocated in defence budget planning, and that financing has not yet been secured.

The German Navy has pushed for new aircraft to replace its P-3Cs, ostensibly to improve the Navy’s capabilities against Russian subs in the Baltic and Nordic regions.

Russia’s Aerospace Defence Forces regularly pick up and intercept German Navy P-3Cs approaching Russian maritime borders in the Baltic Sea. At least half a dozen interceptions of this kind were reported between July and October 2020, and came amid a broader spike in NATO naval and aerial activity along Russia’s borders from the Baltic and Black Sea regions to Russia’s Far…

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