“Until the end of June, our flight plans as part of the anti-Islamic State coalition are set,” the minister, Ursula von der Leyen, told German media on Sunday. “After that, we’ll be transferring our tanker aircraft as quickly as possible to Jordan.”
The tanker aircraft will be operational again after the transfer approximately in the second half of July, according to the minster. The relocation, however, is expected to disrupt the operations of Tornado combat planes for at least two months.
“For the Tornados it would mean at least two to three months downtime, and for the refueling aircraft about two to three weeks. So, I will try to hold talks with the anti-terror coalition immediately, especially with the Americans, in which we can discuss how to close the gaps, so that it’s not disadvantageous,” von der Leyen said.
All the planes are expected to become fully operational before October, the minister said.
Germany has some six Tornado fighter jets, a tanker plane used for refueling and about 280 troops stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik airbase. The contingent was deployed to the base in response to the Paris terrorist attacks in December 2015.