Another 89 are in a state of disrepair and waiting for spare parts.
Instead of spending money on weaponry, funding is directed at the migrant crisis. “The German government in 2016 provided 9.3 billion euros ($10.4 billion) to its sixteen states for assisting migrants and 11 billion euros on measures designed to fight the causes of forced migration and displacement abroad,” Deutsche Welle noted.
Germany does not deploy any other tanks apart from the Leopard 2. The 95 tanks constitute the entire combat-ready panzer force of the nation of 80 million.
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army.
Funke media group broke the news revealed in a Defense Ministry report. The whole report was published by Focus magazine.
Some 53 tanks have been disarmed, seven are being used for testing, while 89 vehicles are “conditionally operational” as they cannot be repaired without critical spare parts.
The Defense Ministry report especially highlighted multiple cases in which “unavailability of the required spare parts would be detrimental”.
German media have also reported on the poor combat readiness and technical malfunctions of German aircraft. Most recently, only 38 out of Germany’s 89 Tornado fighter jets were combat-ready and only 25 out of 57 transport airplanes were operational, according to Deutsche Welle.
The percentage of combat-ready strike helicopters in the German Armed Forces varies between 18 and 32 percent depending on the type of gunship, Deutsche Welle reported. Similar issues also plague armored personnel carriers and maritime vessels.
“That’s incredible,” the chairman of the defense committee, Wolfgang Hellmich (SPD), commented to Focus. Despite all the statements made by the head of the ministry, there were “profound defects” that were of a structural nature, he said.
“How should the troop hold excercises, and be ready for action, if one third of the stock already in use, fails and can not be repaired because spare parts are missing and can not be procured,” Hellmich said and added: “The question must be asked who bears the responsibility for this disaster.”
The soldiers certainly not. They depend on the fact that the necessary material is in good working order. “It is and remains a matter for the Ministry of Defense, which is responsible for the security of our country,” said Hellmich.
Russia, for its part, operates some 2 500 tanks and has another 15 000 in reserve.