Despite Tornado fighter-bombers already on display in museums in the US, Bulgaria and even Germany itself, these warplanes are still in service with the German army, and the country's Defence Ministry has yet to decide on their replacement, according to Die Welt.
The newspaper recalled that the Tornado planes, along with the newer Eurofighter aircraft, remain the backbone of the country's air force. The Tornados, which has been in service since the 1980s, are expected to remain in the German Air Force until 2025.
However, Die Welt reported, the process of replacing the Tornados is by no means guaranteed, not least due to the German Defence Ministry's "political contradictions".
While German Air Force officials favour the notion of buying US-made warplanes, Airbus is trying to compel Germany to purchase its Eurofighters; the company claims this will be in line with the need to support European aircraft manufacturing.
"It is no longer possible to delay with the decision on the replacement as the costs of operating old aircraft are growing, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to provide them with the necessary spare parts," Die Welt reported.
What's more, due to the lack of spare parts and the German Defence Ministry's reluctance to train pilots in the US, the process of preparing Tornado crews "becomes unreasonably long", according to Die Welt.
Panavia Tornado is a multirole combat aircraft with variable sweep wing, developed in the early 1970s by the German company Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm together with the British company British Aerospace and Italy's Alenia Aeronautica.