Home Exercises and reports Aircraft Countries Air Show News Publications Contact
Fighter replacement programs (NATO / Europe)
Latest update: January 2018

Currently a number of NATO and European are in the process of aqcuiring or transitioning to new fighter aircraft. Main contenders for the new fighters are:
Company Aircraft
Boeing F-15 Strike Eagle and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Dassault Rafale B/C
Eurofighter consortium EF-2000 / Typhoon
Lockheed Martin F-35A/B/C Lightning II
Saab JAS-39C/D/E/F Gripen

Between the countries in NATO there's a clearly visible split with the western European countries choosing a fifth generation fighter compared to the eastern European countries which also look at fourth generation (used) fighters.

The overview is presented on the NATO countries first followed by the other European nations. Below the report comments for the individual nations are added.

Note: a number of NATO countries don't operate fighter aircraft listed as current aircraft: None, No. aircraft: 0, status program: #Not Applicable (#N/A), fighter replacement contenders: None, No. a/c: empty. Please refer to NATO Air Policing Missions for more information.
NATO countries
Country Current aircraft No. a/c  Status program Fighter replacement contenders No. a/c 
Albania None 0 #N/A None  
Belgium F-16AM/BM 58 RFP EF-2000, F-35A 34
Bulgaria Mig-29 7   F-16, JAS-39  
Bulgaria Su-25 4   F-16, JAS-39  
Canada CF-188 77 RFI F/A-18*, F-35A  
Croatia Mig-21bis/UM 16 RFP F-16*, JAS-39  
Czech Repubic JAS-39C/D 14 #N/A None  
Denmark F-16AM/BM 45 Selected F-35A 30
Estonia None 0 #N/A None  
France Mirage 2000   #N/A None  
France Rafale   #N/A None  
Germany EF-2000   #N/A None  
Germany Tornado     F-15, F/A-18, F-35A  
Greece F-16C/D   #N/A None  
Greece Mirage 2000   #N/A None  
Hungary JAS-39C/D 14 #N/A None  
Iceland None 0 #N/A None  
Italy EF-2000   #N/A None  
Italy Tornado   Selected F-35A  
Italy AV-8B   Selected F-35B  
Latvia None 0 #N/A None  
Lithuania None 0 #N/A None  
Luxembourg None 0 #N/A None  
Montenegro None 0 #N/A None  
Netherlands F-16AM/BM 68 Selected F-35A 37
Norway F-16AM/BM 56 Selected F-35A 22
Poland Mig-29 32   F-16*, F-35A 100
Poland Su-22M4/UM3 32   F-16*, F-35A  
Portugal F-16AM/BM 27 #N/A None  
Romania Mig-21 Lancer 27 Selected F-16AM/BM 12
Slovakia Mig-29AS/UBS 12   JAS-39  
Slovenia None 0 #N/A None  
Spain EF-18, F/A-18 90   F-35A  
Spain EF-2000 64 #N/A None  
Turkey F-16C/D 270 Selected F-35A 100
United Kingdom Typhoon T3/FGR4   #N/A None  
United Kingdom Tornado GR4/4A   Selected F-35B  
United States A-10A, F-16C/D   Selected F-35A  
United States AV-8B   Selected F-35B  
United States F/A-18C/D   Selected F-35C  


05.10.17: contenders brought back to the Eurofighter consortium with the EF-2000 (Typhoon) and Lockheed Martin with the F-35A Lightning II. Boeing, Dassault and Saab either decided not to respond to the RFP or didn't meet the RFP process.


Four options to replace its Mig-29 and Su-25 fleet. To be delivered in two batches of eight aircraft each.

1: Ex USAF F-16s upgraded in Portugal.
2: Ex Portuguese Air Force F-16AM/BM.
3: Ex Italian Air Force EF-2000s.
4: New build JAS-39s.


Opted for an interim purchase of 18 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. However due to a dispute between Boeing (USA) and Bombardier (Canada) related to their commercial aircraft this option is (currently) dropped. According to the latest news  Canada is looking into the possibility to aqcuire Hornets from Kuwait (F/A-18C/D) or Australia (F/A-18A/B). The Kuwaiti Air Force F/A-18s will become available after they have received their ordered Super Hornets.


Request for proposal received from: Greece, Israel, Sweden and the United States. Saab is offering its Gripen however unknown if this will be the JAS-39C/D or the latest JAS-39E/F variant. The other countries are offering the Lockheed Martin F-16C with the USA proposing new aircraft and Greece and Israel its used F-16Cs.


Selected the F-35A Lightning II. Boeing - offered the F/A-18 Super Hornet - contested the decision. Unknown if Boeing will go to court. The contract has not been signed yet however LRIP 12 should contain the first two F-35s for the Danish Air Force.

Czech republic:

Extended the lease of its JAS-39C/D Gripen.


The Rafales are still entering service with the French Air Force which will see Mirage 2000s withdrawn from use. France announced together with Germany to start a study to build a new fighter to replace the EF-2000s and Rafales.


The EF-2000s are still entering service. Currently two Tornado wings remain within the German Air Force which will be phased out in the 2020s. Germany's government contacted its colleagues in the USA to provide information about Boeing's F-15 Strike Eagle and Super Hornet and Lockheed Martins F-35 Lightning II.


The EF-2000s are still entering service. Its F-35As are already active in the pilot training role both in Italy as well as at Luke AFB, Arizona. In May 2017 its first - and currently only - ordered F-35B for the navy was rolled out of the production plant at Cameri.


Waiting for the delivery of its first F-35As to be fielded to an operational squadron in the fourth quarter of 2019.


Waiting for the delivery of its first F-35As in Norway planned for November 2017. Its first seven aircraft all assigned to pilot training at Luke AFB, Arizona.


The Polish Air Force needs to replace their Mig-29 and Su-22 fleet of which a part has been or is in the process of being upgraded. Although being considered the F-35A might be too expensive. News reports mentioned a potential buy of up to 100 used F-16s.


The last three of 12 ordered F-16AM/BM purchased from the Portuguese Air Force arrived in Romania at the end of September 2017. It is considering to buy a second batch of used F-16s.


Will have to replace its ageing fleet of Mig-29 fighters. Intended to lease eight JAS-39s from Sweden.


The EF-2000s are still entering service. Requested information about the F-35.


Selected the F-35A with the first orders placed and is expected to order 100 Lightning IIs in total.

United Kingdom:

138 F-35Bs will replace the remaining Tornadoes and will be fielded to Royal Air Force and Royal Navy squadrons. The first of two new aircraft carriers is undergoing its test program.

United States:

The F-35A will replace the A-10C and F-16C/D within the USAF, the F-35B will replace USMC F/A-18C/D Hornets and AV-8B Harriers and the F-35C will replace USN F/A-18C/D Hornets.
European countries
Country Current aircraft No. a/c  Status program Fighter replacement contenders No. a/c 
Finland F/A-18C/D 54 / 7? RFP F-15, F/A-18E/F, F-35A, EF-2000, JAS-39, Rafale  
Sweden JAS-39C/D 75 / 25 60 No  
Switzerland F-5E        
Switzerland F/A-18F        


Submitted a request for proposal to replace its F/A-18C/D Hornet fleet in the 2020s.


Selected the JAS-39E/F to replace its current fleet of JAS-39C/D Gripen aircraft. The first of three 'prototype' JAS-39Es made it first flight on June 15, 2017.


Will need to replace its fleet of Northrop F-5Es and Boeing F/A-18C/Ds. Its intended purchase of the JAS-39 was cancelled after a referendum was held and the buy rejected by the majority of voters.
Fighter replacement contenders
EF-2000 (German Air Force) F/A-18F Super Hornet US Navy (VFA-41). F-35A Royal Netherlands Air Force
JAS-39C Czech Air Force  Rafale C French Air Force  
F-15 Strike Eagle and F-16AM/BM (MLU) 
USAFE F-15E Strike Eagle. Boeing offers Strike Eagle variants. 

RNLAF F-16AM (sold to Jordan). MLU F-16s are available in Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal and the USA. F-16C (photo: Greek AF) offered to Croatia by Greece, Israel and the United States.