Germany is set to purchase F-35 fighter jets to replace its ageing Tornado fleet, Reuters reported quoting two government sources.

One of the sources told the news agency that the country aims to acquire up to 35 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jets.

The German Air Force has been flying Tornado jets since 1980s. It plans to gradually retire the fleet between 2025 and 2030.

Currently, Tornado is the only German aircraft that can be equipped with US nuclear bombs, Reuters added.

The report comes several weeks after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that the country will increase military expenditure to more than 2% of its economic output amid evolving security challenges in Europe.

Nato statistics show that Germany is expected to have spent 1.53% of its GDP on defence last year.

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The F-35 is a stealthy, supersonic multirole fighter jet developed by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.

It is available in three variants, notably a conventional take-off and landing aircraft (CTOL) F-35A; a short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) F-35B aircraft; and carrier variant (CV) F-35C.

Last month, the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command signed $9.4bn worth of contracts for 64 F-35A Lightning II multi-role fighters. The contracts include maintenance services.

In Finland, the jets will replace the Finnish Air Force’s Hornet fleet.

Northrop Grumman, associated with the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet programme as a principal partner of Lockheed Martin, delivered the 900th centre fuselage of the aircraft in February.