Skip to Content

Eurofighter Typhoon, BAE Systems

German Air Force is ‘at a low point’

Germany will take over command of NATO's crisis response force in 2019, while its military is facing major shortages of basic military supplies.

Published: July 3, 2018, 3:05 pm

    The list of shortfalls include fighter aircraft struggling to operate at night, pilot attrition within the Luftwaffe and just four out of 128 Eurofighter Typhoons ready to fly combat missions.

    Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz, Germany’s new air force chief, noted on June 27 in a speech quoted by Reuters: “The Luftwaffe is at a low point. Aircraft are grounded due to a lack of spare parts, or they aren’t even on site since they’re off for maintenance by the industry.”

    In 2015 already, the military issued a report critical about the state of its Tornado jets.

    Gerhartz however implied that bureaucratic ineffectiveness may be to blame: a 400-hour inspection of Germany’s Eurofighters was supposed to be completed within seven months, but ended up taking 14 months to finish.

    Deutsche Welle reported that “less than half of its arsenal of Tornados was actually ready for deployment surfaced. Out of 93 commissioned fighter jets, only 66 were operational in general terms and only 29 were combat-ready at the current time.”

    An inspector general had warned a year before that 58 percent of the Tornados were ready for combat, while the Luftwaffe’s goal is to have around 70 percent combat ready. Earlier this year, Germany revealed that only 26 Tornados were combat ready. The planes are used as the delivery system for US tactical nuclear weapons.

    Germany’s Eurofighters are in even worse shape with only four ready for combat, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported in May 2018. Out of 128 Eurofighters, only 10 suffered no defense system defects. “The problem stems from a cooling liquid leak in the aircraft’s wing pod sensors, which are used to recognize hostile jets or incoming attacks. Without the defense system the Eurofighter jets are not combat ready,” DW pointed out.

    Berlin maintains however that any of the planes that can fly, are also ready for battle, stating that 39 fighters could take to the air in combat. In addition to the defense system problems, the Der Spiegel reported that Germany only has enough missiles for four of the aircraft.

    Compounding the Luftwaffe’s technical problems, is the high staff turnover among its top leadership. Gerhartz has been serving in his position for just over a month now. His predecessor, Lt. Gen. Karl Muellner, was fired because he allegedly favoured the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to replace the Tornado fleet.

    Eurofighter Typhoon. Twitter

    “The Luftwaffe considers the F-35’s capability as the benchmark for the selection process for the Tornado replacement, and I think I have expressed myself clearly enough as to what the favorite of the air force is,” Muellner told the media last year. The German defense ministry supports the Eurofighter as the Tornados’ replacement, according to The National Interest.

    The Eurofighter Typhoon, a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter, was designed originally as an air superiority fighter manufactured by a consortium of Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo that conducts the majority of the project through a joint holding company, Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH formed in 1986.

    NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency has managed the project.

    Not only the German Air Force is facing problems. “Less than half of the 224 Leopard 2 tanks are ready to roll and a mere five of the Navy’s 13 frigates are seaworthy,” according to the German Defense Ministry’s “Report on the Operational Readiness of the Bundeswehr’s Primary Weapon Systems 2017.”

    The federal budget draft suggests a multibillion increase in defense spending for 2019 as Germany’s military allies complain about broken promises on target budgets.

    The German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported that the defense budget will increase, but it is still far from meeting Germany’s target of 1.5 percent of GDP for military spending by 2024. German Press Agency (DPA) confirmed that $4.7 billion more will be disbursed than in 2018, and exceed previously proposed increases for 2019 by $785 million.

    According to the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the latest tax estimate predicts much higher government revenues than expected, and thus more money has been promised for the military.

    US President Donald Trump, as well as some other NATO members have been pressuring Germany to spend the required 2 percent of GDP that NATO members agreed to in 2014.

    According to The New York Times Trump has sent the leaders of several NATO members – including Belgium, Canada, Germany and Norway – letters in which he expressed Washington’s displeasure over the countries’ non-compliance.

    “As we discussed during your visit in April, there is growing frustration in the United States that some allies have not stepped up as promised… Continued German underspending on defense undermines the security of the alliance and provides validation for other allies that also do not plan to meet their military spending commitments, because others see you as a role model,” Trump wrote in his letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in particular.

    Germany’s current defense spending amount to only 1.2 percent of GDP and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has suggested that the percentage may even decrease after 2019.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    ISIS suspect arrested in Budapest

    BudapestAn ISIS terror suspect who has carried out multiple executions in his homeland in 2016, has been taken into custody, according to the Budapest public prosecutor.

    The geopolitical future of Nordic countries

    Between unity and disunity, independence and foreign interference: Nordic countries have to either choose between creating an independent neutral block in the North, or seeing the region being divided between the great powers.

    Another arson attack on AfD in Berlin

    BerlinUnknown perpetrators have set fire to the car of an AFD member in Berlin. The police confirmed that the vehicle belonging to a party member in the district of Köpenick went up in flames shortly after 2 o'clock in the night of Friday.

    African who torched Italian schoolbus shows no remorse

    MilanThe African from Senegal who hijacked a schoolbus in Italy, terrorizing 51 small children on board, is not going to apologize for what he did.

    A farewell to arms – Ukraine’s corruption spirals out of control

    KievA chilling tale of how Petro Poroshenko's proxies fattened already exorbitantly priced low-quality smuggled spares. 

    Are the Ukrainian presidential elections ‘fake’?

    The Finish journalist Janus Putkonen has started an international petition to stop the Ukrainian elections. Although he is unlikely to succeed, Putkonen has nevertheless gained many supporters. In fact, they are so numerous that the platform Chance.org "purged" some 3 000 signatures over night.

    Are the Ukrainian presidential elections “fake”?

    Finnish journalist Janus Putkonen. Photo: SuppliedThe Finnish journalist Janus Putkonen started an international petition to stop the Ukrainian elections. It is unlikely to succeed, but Putkonen is gathering many supporters. So many, that the platform Chance.org “purged” over night 3,000 signatures.

    Serious fun – Russian pranksters shed light on events in Venezuela

    MoscowTwo Russian pranksters have exposed the greed driving the regime change project against Venezuela by the US State Department in daring phone conversations.

    African sets bus with schoolchildren on fire in Italy

    CremonaA 47-year-old African bus driver was held by Carabinieri police on Wednesday after he hijacked a bus with Italian schoolchildren and set the bus on fire. The Senegalese migrant tied the hands of the children with plastic electrical ties in an attempt to kill them, sources said.

    UK Catholic journalist may face prison for misgendering teenager

    LondonBritish police are currently dedicated to fighting "microaggressions" such as "misgendering" people on social media. Meanwhile, out of the 44 police forces, 42 have recorded a rise in knife crime since 2011.

    Go to archive