Germany’s air force is in dire straits and funds are urgently needed to modernise its weaponry and systems, the air force chief of staff said according to local reports.

“The Luftwaffe is at a low point,” Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, who took over as chief of staff of the air force about a month ago, told 200 industry executives. Gerhartz said his assessment followed visits to various air force sites and discussions with troops that revealed serious deficits in the readiness of aircraft and other equipment.

“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,” he said. According to Reuters, he said a 400-hour inspection of the Eurofighter combat jets now took a total of 14 months, twice as long as planned, and this was unacceptable.

His comments followed recent reports by the defence ministry and the German parliament’s military ombudsman that revealed significant gaps in military equipment and personnel.

Recently, we reported that the vast majority of major weapons systems in the German military are unavailable for training exercises or deployment, according to a new German Defence Ministry report.

‘Report on the Operational Readiness of the Bundeswehr’s Primary Weapons Systems’ was presented to Germany’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday.

Number of weapon systems ready for action according to the report:

  • Typhoon jets: 39 of 128
  • Tornado jets: 26 of 93
  • CH-53 transport helicopters: 16 of 72
  • NH-90 transport helicopters: 13 of 58
  • Tigre attack helicopters: 12 of 62
  • A400M transport aircraft: 3 of 15
  • Leopard 2 tanks: 105 of 224
  • Frigates: 5 of 13
  • Submarines: 0 out of 6

Read more on the report here.

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David Stone

Is it now Frigates 4 of 13 after the unfortunate missile mishap the other day




The German plan is for a massive R&D boost under the EU umbrella.
All R&D in either FRance or Germany all manufacturing in Germany, they order the minimum and do all the manufacturing, Germany wins, the rest of EU buys German and all of Europe are idiot’s, 2% is not in Germany 5 year budget. The Germans are living off of history. Brexit although not NATO related, should be wake up call for rest of NATO.


an audit similar to this on ALL UK kit and equipment would leave some very red faces. kudos to the Germans for admitting their short falls


Not really….
This is a staggering decline.
The German sub surface fleet is exactly correct.
Typhoon too as are the Tornados.
The UK do scavenge, but the Germans have utterly ruined their own military.
There is no comparison….maybe a few red faces ie Ocean…now sold, but nothing like sending back a complete warship because it is listing as it sails to its new owners!

Mike Saul

Time for Germany to meet its commitments to NATO and start spending it’s money rather than relying on US and UK taxpayers to defend the fatherland.


100% Mike. Germany has the strongest economy in Europe-it is a disgrace that such a leading nation should allow its military to sink to such a sorry state particularly considering the UK still has forces stationed in that country! A crazy setup

David Steeper

The Germans will spend on their armed forces when they know we or the US won’t do the job for them free of charge. Not a day before.


Remind me again why Trump gets mad about European defence spending…


Partly because somebody explained it to him once and while he didn’t understand the question he found a nugget soundbite that he could rant about at his rally.
Partly simply because he’s a prize bellendre whose deep in Putin’s pocket, both of whom are very happy to see NATO disintegrate.

Andrew Smith

it’s about distraction. If things are bad at home point the finger at others


Because he does not understand the basics of NATO, contemporary threats, the mission of the US military and moreover he never realised that the magic 2% is a meaningless number in its own. He also does not seem to get where that is coming from.

Nevertheless Germany has gone too far with their pacifism. This will blow up in their face.


Yep 2% is just number, the next Labour government will spend 2% but we will have a less capable military… if that at all possible. Tories are not much better with Osborne’s numbers games,

John Clark

I think we all agree, the state of the German Military is appalling. To think they are happy to sign up to a new European fighter and MPA is utterly farcical, when the equipment they have is, in practical terms, non operational.

If they refuse to step up regarding their NATO commitment, then I would simply throw them out.

What’s the point of them, NATO is turning into a paper tiger because of the likes of Germany.


You don’t just throw out the second largest economy and population in NATO. They have been spending just over a 1% on defence and it’s starting to come back and bite them. But make no mistake about it, whether their armed forces are in a sorry state or not, a country like Germany, 80m people, 4th largest economy in the world, would be highly valuable as an ally in a total war situation, remember wars are not just won on the battlefield, you need a strong population, industrial output and most of all cash to wage war, and Germany has… Read more »

John Clark

I disagree, the Germans contribute the square sum of Fu*CK all to NATO, they just take…. It’s not like the last war Sole Survivor, you can’t snap your fingers, dig for victory and rearm in a few months. Today it takes years to reintroduce capability and build it up. So, what do they bring to the party, the Americans bring most of the food, us and France bring along a few nibbles and some booze … Then the Germans show up like the annoying neighbour we all have, who turns up empty handed and tucks in to the BBQ !… Read more »


“the Americans bring most of the food, us and France bring along a few nibbles and some booze … Then the Germans show up like the annoying neighbour we all have, who turns up empty handed and tucks in to the BBQ” Before I reply properly FairPlay on that one ?? You’re right it does take years to build up capability, historically that has always been the case during peacetime, but with imminent threat of war and war itself, the economy goes into a wartime economy then it changes dramatically, it the 30’s it took 3 years to build and… Read more »

John Clark

Fair play Survivor, you make a good reasoned case for keeping them in NATO. Perhaps a wider NATO approach should be a mandatory 2% spend by all members by 2025, or hand in your keys on the way out of the club house… Why should America bank roll and act as protector to a wealthy country that’s actually an industrial competitor, especially if said country never takes any meaningful part in military operations and barely spends 1% on defence as it is? Ironically, it will probably be German intransigence that break NATO up from the inside. The French must be… Read more »


@John Clark The US are not bankrolling NATO. This is a farcical statement made by a president who would barely pass a nursery school test. The US has an armed forces. Some of these armed forces are assigned to NATO duties. They however remain US forces and their primary duty is to defend the US from attack. If the US required them back then they would simply recall them and assign them to a different role. They would still exist even if NATO was gone as they are not employed and paid for in order to support NATO they are… Read more »

David Bevan

Why not? It might embarrass them into pulling their weight. I think the Germans would benefit from learning a little humility now and again don’t you? It would actually be good for them. At the moment they seem to take great delight in posturing and unilaterally assuming the mantle of leadership in Europe. So if they want to lead lead then they can learn to lead by example. Not sure many would follow a disgruntled Germany out of NATO especially given the stance some Southern and Eastern EU countries have taken towards German positions recently. Even the baltic states joined… Read more »

John Clark

ludicrous, idiotic and just plain wrong …. Interesting comment Lee. The Americans act as the Germans defence guarantor, allowing the Germans to spend bugger all on defence and turn the once proud German military into an absolute laughing stock…. They contribute the vast majority of NATO’s punch, in doing so protect all the member states sheltering under Uncle Sam’s umbrella. In what way is this not bankrolling German defence (they sure as shit aren’t paying!) and by extension the rest of NATO’s defence? Trump might well be a narcissistic, mosogonistic idiot, but he’s bang on the money with this ….… Read more »


It is idiotic… Please provide details of the money spent by the US purely on defending Germany?

Germany placing their trust and survival on hoping other countries will help them in time of need is dumb, complacent, and risky but it is not the same as bankrolling them!

The US is not spending any extra on their armed forces due to Germany’s forces being in a poor state than they would have been anyway.

John Clark

Lee, America is ‘effectively bankrolling’ by leading NATO, providing 80% of its assets, thus providing and underwriting the NATO Artical 5 gurenteee of assistance.

The above means the Germans can carry on spending huge sums on their health service and other areas of their economy and not give a Toss about defence.

I can’t really see why you can’t get that basic concept to be honest.

That’s my opinion (others are allowed one you know).

Anyway Lee, enjoy the sun while we have it, fairly sure uncle Sam isn’t bankrolling that?


@John Clark,

That is not bankrolling. The US is not spending any extra than they would anyway. Germany might not be pulling its weight but that is not causing spending to rise in the UK, US, France etc. Those militaries are spending what they need to defend themselves and their interests and some of those are then seconded to NATO.


And we should do everything possible to snub them after what has been done with Galileo. They’re on their own.

Mr Bell

I agree with many comments about this. With the exception of France and Poland all our EU NATO partners are in a shite state. Germany should be one of the strongest military forces in Europe. Instead they rely on US and British forces to cover their deficit. I think NATO is potentially doomed. The EU want their own federal superstate armed forces…good luck with that. Trip is sadly right about NATO defence expenditure and how the US is paying to defend foreign countries too greedy and ignorant to support analliance that has kept the peace in Europe for 70+ years… Read more »


Yeah, have a lie down


After two years of observing T May’s leadership skills NOTO member Countries should avoid using Article 5 of the Treaty at all cost


You are talking rubbish. The US is not paying to defend other countries. It is paying to defend itself and as part of that, defending other countries makes strategic sense. The US does not pay any money to defend Germany. The only foreign country it pays money to defend is Israel.


Things are about to change. The US attitude is not in the ownership of Trump alone, the disquiet has been building for some to time (I guess) in Washington? Under the current liberal thinking German Government, there appears little urgency to make good a once proud and powerful armed force. The focus appears to be elsewhere and not on the fact that Russia is out to test the West’s resolve. Germany has to offer a crediable deterrent yet, some may ask, is it too late? Oddly, is it not strange that the rest of Europe wants Germany to have strong… Read more »

John West

OK. Germany is in dire straits with its military.

Perhaps they should approach the No. 1 military power in Europe to bring them back up to speed. Now, who would that be…..

Meanwhile, lets not pretend that if Germany where at full military capacity then we would be happy. WW2 was a long time ago and they are our allies. We can (and should) help them – albeit at a price.

Don’t forget, that is exactly what the USA did to us with Lease/Lend.


Perhaps they should approach the No. 1 military power in Europe to bring them back up to speed. Now, who would that be…..

Russia? ?


I think thats debatable. Russia is reducing defence spending due to their economy contracting faster than a rat up a drainpipe. And I really don’t believe for one moment they have anything other than nuclear weapons that any of us should be worried about.


It’s not debatable in the slightest, a million active personnel, 2.5m reserve, only the US or China could realistically beat Russia in a war.

Go have a check on their equipment and come back to me and tell me which European country could beat them.

What every other European country has in the hundreds, they have in the thousands, tens of thousand in some cases.


A question that keeps coming back to me is whether NATO has a place in the modern world. Controversial i know but it is a question i keep asking myself. I am not 100% on either side of the answer, but keep wondering. NATO was set up in the shadows of WW2 where Europe was still considered to be the centre of the economic world (even then mainly a legacy view) and protecting Europe was considered essential for a global economy and for the US economy. Fear was also there of WW3 (WW1 and WW2 were pretty close together), which… Read more »


There is no longer a threat to the UK but try telling that to Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine. Countries with large Russian minorities that Russia would Gladdy return to a satilites state. Do we just ignore their right to self determination because Russia doesn’t threaten the UK or Germany.


I don’t think anyone is ignoring the defense of Estonia/Latvia (Ukraine is not a NATO member) but is an arms race with Russia really the solution? Is NATO really stopping Russian invasion, or is the threat of WW3 / nukes? Could we realistically defend these countries if Russia decided to attack, of course not (the plan during the cold war was effectively to just fight a rear guard until we could nuke most of eastern europe to stop the advance). NATO’s eastern border is too broad to realistically defend it, and realistically poor Estonia/Latvia are just there to give the… Read more »

John Clark

I would echo that, excellent posts there Steve.


The strange thing though is that Germany spends almost the same as the UK on defense. Yes the % of GDP is lower, but their GDP itself is higher.

According to wikipedia Germany spends 94% of the UK spending ($44.3b vs $47.2b).

I wonder where the money goes.


Pensions for officers and sweet heart deals with German armament manufacturers. Who manage to let hazardous industrial screw ups like Baden-Württemberg class leave the yards. Then there is when you have someone like Ursula Von Der Leyen who is completely clueless in charge of procurement and management of personnel. Who instead of taking the heat for reduced training and lack of exposure to live fire drills tried to blame the service rifle. For quote,”over heating and lack of accuracy past 100m when on full-automatic fire,”. There is no such thing as accurate fully-automatic fire and no shit the guns got… Read more »


All sounds very similar to what happened in the UK.

Pension for service man / officers in defence budget – tick
Manufacturers getting sweet deals – tick – just look at the river2 etc
Weapon problems – tick – mainly solved but still was a big problem and needed German firm to fix

Steve M

I’ve read elsewhere on here that the River 2’s were built as the government had already paid BAE for that period of time etc so they said well, you may as well build us something rather than us paying you to sit on you arse. Very poorly worded (and remembered) I know, but it’s not always just down to sweet deals. I would like to see HMG taking issue with the build quality if reports are true though and possibly fine BAE.

John Clark

Very true Steve. Regarding the L85, it’s currently going through the A3 upgrade. New ( slightly modified) recivers, manufactured by H K. Also featuring a new Keymod forend, plus a few other subtle refinements..

The rife is now to all intents and purposes a HK product, I believe they now have the design authority for the rifle.

So the SA80 will be around for a lot longer yet!

John Clark

How true, the Germans talk the talk regarding new kit, mainly to ensure a sizable German industrial content. Then simply renague on the agreement, look at their slow and low numbered ( basic spec) Typhoon purchase and their slow as molasses A400 procurement. Lets not forget the Germans very nearly destroyed the Eurofighter program back in 1992 by threatening to withdraw from the program. If the French intend to design and build a new generation fighter with them, good luck! They will be enfusiastic partners right to the point of getting 50% work share….. Just don’t expect them to order… Read more »

Tim Bowler

Mr Bell’s comments are worth reading – if only for a laugh. He must be surprised every day when he walks out of his front door to discover the world is very different from the way he imagines it….