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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

    • 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.

    • 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,

  4. 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 all three, if it had to it could switch to a wartime economy and within 6 months become a military powerhouse, especially on land.

      • 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 !

        So would I throw them out of NATO … Absolutely! I would give them an ultimatum to increase defence spending to 2% GDP and actually “take part” in ops against the likes of ISIS, or show the useless buggers the door!

        • “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 launch some ships and during the war it took two months, once America had a production line going they were finishing a ship a day.

          And that’s Naval buildup, arguably the most complex and time consuming, talking about industry of arms, armoured vehicles, tanks, ammunition etc, If Germany wanted to they could out produce any nation in Europe instantly with their industrial base, that’s already got the skilled workforce and technological advancements that puts most of Europe to shame, it already builds double the amount of cars as the next placed nation.

          I know the complexity of just about everything has enhanced massively since the 30/40’s but so has the skill of the workforce and the technology including automotive technology, make no mistake, no expense spared 24 hour construction to produce anything ASAP would be a quarter maybe less of anything that gets produced in peacetime.

          So you can never say they are not worthwhile allies, yes they have let their armed forces slide but so have we, their economy, population and industrial power are bigger than ours so it makes absolute sense to still have them as an ally., in fact anything other than having Germany as an ally would be utterly foolish.

          And remember the German leadership don’t live in this parallel universe that a lot of us live in thanks to the media that Russia is a few months away from waging total war and are going to conquer Europe. Germany are under no realistic threat of war. It’s only because of the supposed threat of Russia in this country that a modest defence spending increase is just about barely on the table, that’s how hard it is to get backing on an increase.

          But from what I’ve read, a lot of German politicians are asking for 2%, and merkel has agreed that it should go up, the target is 1.5% by 2025, so a 0.3% increase can hardly be sniffed at, considering their actual defence spend increased by 5% (what on god knows) because of their strong economic growth then that should sort them out in my opinion.

          And lastly if you kicked Germany out you could kiss NATO in Europe goodbye, most European loyalties lie with Germany through the EU than the US through NATO.

          They got pumped out the World Cup in the group stages, that’s enough for me for now 👍

          • 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 barking to go into an EU defence deal with the Germans, that said, Uncle Sam will probably be very happy to let the French pay the bill instead!

            You certainly get the impression the US would rather place it’s assets in the UK and shift it European bases to Poland.

            Poland are a much better NATO partner and are happy to step up when needed.

          • @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 employed and paid for the defend the US.

            Now the fact that Germany (and a few others) are neglecting their armed forces to a point where they are becoming practically useless is a problem for NATO and a problem for Europe. They are indeed hoping that the likes of the US, UK, France and the norther European countries will come to help and will not let them be attacked, while they spend their money on other things. They are not behaving like a true ally in this respect but to say that the US is bankrolling them is ludicrous, idiotic and just plain wrong.

            Ask yourself if NATO did not exist would the US, UK and other allies move to protect Germany if it was invaded and the answer would likely be yes they would. It would make sense to do so as if Germany was invaded then it would make us all weaker.

            I am not sure what the answer is with regard to Germany and NATO but kicking them out seems like it would be a mistake. It does however need to be made clear that Germany’s allies are not happy about it not pulling its weight.

      • 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 NATO before they joined the EU. It would be a particularly bizarre leader who would choose to substitute NATO for a German talking shop. I’d be particularly amused to observe the absurdity of any country which chose to entrust its national security to another nation which doesn’t really do defence.

        • 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 …. To be more precise US tax payers money!

          Please feel free to point out that that statement is factually incorrect, or perhaps idiotic even 😉

          • 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.

          • 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.

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

  6. 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
    I would prefer UK, Norway, Finland, swededn, Canada, USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and India to form a new “democratic alliance” thereby protecting the rights, sovereignty and freedom of speech we all live under currently and enjoy.
    That would be a huge message to the world that the leading democratic countries stand together as one.
    The EU is a disgrace…no flexibility, no goodwill towards its neighbours
    Galileo project is a great example of cuttiñg of their nose to spite their faces.
    They will develop Galileo 10-15 years too late and with old technology. Meanwhile the UK will press on with our own technologically superior version and we could actually pull the plug on the EUs version if we chose too, by not allowing them access to UK plc technology.
    I view the EU now not as our friends and allies their accusations behaviour, inflexibility and demands means probably a no deal BREXIT…fine by most UK citizens perspective we go to WTO rules and gain £12-14 billion a year income to the Exchequer for the trade surplus the EU enjoys.
    Then there is the issue of the city of London. £20 trillion a year in financial transactions will grind to a halt. The city CA and should teach the EU a lesson.
    Ireland yescongrstulstions you are now by the admission of your own pm now no longer a sovereign country but are one nation of 520 million people. Did you actually vote for that? I am not aware of there ever being an election. 85% of all Ireland’s exports and trade moves through the UK. Under WTO rules that would generate another £8-10 billion a year to the Exchequer. Try to not move trade through the UK and Ireland economy will collapse. Sea routes to Europe from Ireland would require huge subsidise to make viable and a rough estimate would be £45-50 billion a year added transportation costs to the Irish economy.
    No free trade deal?? Really the EU actually want that. Keep it up dip shits and you will regret treating the British as some form of 2nd class subservient race to the EU elite.
    Do not even get me started on the fact that the only reason they are not all goose stepping and talking German is because of the UK and our allies. Or the fact that we protected and guarded Europe for 60 long years of cold war at massive expense to the UK taxpayer.
    Makes me very cross…going for lie down. Over to all the remainder defeatists to reply.

    • 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.

  7. 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 armed forces, even though when it possessed such prowess in the past, it sent shivers down the spines of many countries? We can only hope that Germany recognizes the need to get sharp again, to create a tangible opposition to Russian opportunism.

  8. 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.

  9. I’ve had a chat with associates in Bavaria. They do identify as Bavarian first and foremost and German second because of course, Germany is highly federalised with each state having its own Prime Minister, Parliament and powerful government. In their opinion, Germany has done enough in recent years and they think Berlin has spent enough German taxpayer’s money baling out this and that. I think many in that very influential German lander/state share that view. Spending on the military is way down their list of priorities. They are keen to see more spent on the police and so on.

  10. 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 effectively ended with MAD. The US also had a keen interest in Russia, because firstly the trade with Europe and more importantly since settlement, US politics has worked around them having an enemy to justify all its foreign and a lot of its domestic policies.

    In the intervening period, we have had the Korean and Vietnam war and a few other key events that showed the world that a major war just could no longer be won and effectively stopped WW3, plus of course nukes.

    Move forward to 2018, and whilst the EU overall is still the biggest economy in the world (won’t be post brexit) it is in decline and the real economic power is in the East with China and the main enemy of the US is now China (e.g. constant stories of Chinese government hacking the west, but never any stories of the reverse, even though it is clearly happening).

    Does anyone seriously think Russia is going to roll its tanks into Eastern Europe, i doubt it and without a real risk, you can see why the likes of Germany have not invested in their military and the same with the UK, our focus has moved away from protecting the UK to exerting military power aboard and this also explains the constant cuts.

    If there is no longer a threat to Europe, NATO’s core mission has ended. Can NATO change its core mission, not really since any external activities effectively require a UN mandate and so can be done under the UN banner and Europe has no interest in going toe to toe with China, as it needs China to survive.

    It would take some serious guts to dismantle NATO, but by doing so it would ease tensions with Russia (assuming it didn’t do the reverse and the tanks start rolling), who see NATO as a threat and without it might be more interested in coming to the table and rejoining the international community.

    Just a thought.

    • 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 western NATO countries time to organise themselves.

        I would also question whether we would go to war with Russia if they were invaded, a war that would result in WW3 pulling in China etc (assuming it did not go nuclear) and a war the west could not win.

        We could have mutual defense treaties of NATO without the whole military aggression side. It would be a dangerous gamble, but demilitarization eastern Europe, might actually lower the threat, as it would allow Russia to stop feeling like it is under threat.

        It is easy for the west to not see NATO as a threat and as a defensive organisation, but flip the story and see it from Russia perspective and you can see what the Warsaw pack looked like in the cold war.

        You also have to remember the history of Germany, i can’t blame them for not wanting to militarizes too much.

        Finally we forget that Ukraine was not exactly a song of joy before the Russian invasion, it was a country with a lot of economic problems and poverty, plus was pretty unstable. I think Russia was a bit opportunistic with the invasion, but there is a part of a justification there, if not fully. Any less justified than the 2nd Iraq war/invasion, not so sure. That justification is not there in Estonia or Latvia or most NATO nations, because they are mostly stable (Turkey being questionable).

    • 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 hot. These were training issues and the real issue was the German troops deployed to Afghanistan and got into prolonged firefights were poorly trained and attempted to compensate by the spraying and praying shooting technique. So now unwilling to acknowledge they wrongly blamed the weapon Germany is beginning the process of procuring a new service rifle. Where by the way they disqualified not only American but also every other European arms manufacturer. While they were complaining about American protectionism.

      • 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

        • 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.

        • 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!

      • 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 anything like the number promised..

        Bloody glad we won’t be involved with that bureaucratic money pit!

        I wouldn’t touch that forthcoming euro nonsense with a stick!

  11. 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….


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