"Germany's choice is limited to American and French companies building combat planes," he said. "The United States offers two solutions, the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-15 Eagle. Both are 4++ generation jets. It is common knowledge that Washington likes to force other NATO member states to purchase US-built armaments to provide contracts to its defense industry. This is what is likely to happen in this case. The chances of France and its Rafale are slim."
Earlier this month, the German Air Force asked the Pentagon to provide classified data on the F-35 to help Berlin choose a supplier. The German government is said to have not made a final decision yet.
Leonkov also mentioned that in terms of cost the F-35 does not seem to be the best choice when compared to other options.
"The F-35's price tag was lowered to approximately $110 million apiece, while the F-18 costs some $60 million. The F-15 Eagle, whose characteristics are on par with the F-35, is estimated to cost approximately $100 million," he said.
Leonkov further commented on the F-35's weak spots.
"At air shows, the F-35s were seen taking off, performing basic maneuvers and landing. However, when it comes to fighter jets it's the plane's maneuvering capabilities that are of primary importance. This is not the F-35's strong suit. The developers of this aircraft placed special emphasis on stealth. Americans though that if the plane is invisible, then it does not need to be highly-maneuverable. Experience has proven that stealth is not a universal remedy. Radiolocation stations of air defense systems are able to locate stealth aircraft. If that happens, the F-35 will have zero chance of escaping our antiaircraft defenses and the Su-35s," the analyst said.
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