According to local media, the German air force only has four combat ready Typhoon jets out of 128.

The Luftwaffe is dealing with a “massive problem” that has left all but four of its 128 Typhoon jets unavailable for combat missions, according to a report by German news outlet Spiegel.

It’s understood that the readiness issues are compounded by a lack of air-combat missiles. Because of that shortfall, only four of the fighters are currently ready for combat missions, according to Spiegel. According to the article:

The problem is complicated. Put simply, all “Eurofighters” on the wings have a sensor that detects enemy jets or attacks and warns the pilot. About half a year ago, it was discovered that the pod is no longer properly cooled.”

According to other reports, Germany’s air force is in ‘dire straits’ and funds are urgently needed to modernise its weaponry and systems.

“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.

64 COMMENTS

  1. This is not just a question of money or insufficient funds. The maintenance and logistics system is slow, antiquated and Byzantine, designed to create jobs and featherbed an antediluvian industrial MRO structure. It needs complete overhaul from top to bottom but too many cushy, high paid jobs depend on it. Strong unions and pork barrel politics get in the way as well. France used to be the same and still has numerous problems but it’s pulling itself up by its own bootstraps kicking and screaming, a process that started even before Macron. It costs Germany an arm and a leg to maintain each Typhoon and a C check takes four times what it does in the U.K. The difference between this and the recently announced TyTAN support deal between the RAF and BAES is night and day.

    • Well ,you know .An arm and a leg is small beer compared to us .Its a lack of political will.Forget hitler ffs .Move on .Russia is foolishly ,misleadingly playing the aggressor ..We need to show them that we wish no harm to the Russian people and blow putin away .

    • If we are in a single market for services then the Germans should get BAES to extend TyTAN to the Luftwaffe.
      I’ll go and put my coat on….

  2. Oh dear! Willie is asleep at the wheel! That is why the European Union’s Pixie Leader from the grey East Germany is able to get whatever she asks for and that is not a strong military. She wants to patrol the border with her handbag! Oops, sorry, there are no borders!

  3. So they want to build a six generation fighter with the French. No wonder Airbus is keen to get involved with Tempest.

  4. I never thought I would say this, but I’m starting to agree with Trump regarding NATO and European defence spending (God writing that feels so dirty I need a shower).
    Ahem. Anyhow, why should only certain nations foot the bill for a common defence pact? I read recently the Germans want us to keep British forces in their country to help defend it / deter aggression. Fine – pay us then. If you don’t want your own military, you have to pay to hire someone else. Same for Ireland (I know not a full NATO member). Coupled with the current Brexit negotiations / shenanigans / shitstorm, it’s turning me into a right old erm right-winger and I don’t want to be like this. My great-granddad and granddad fought in WW1 and WW2 respectively, to help free Europe. My dad was in the TA during the 80s at the height of the Reagan Cold War stuff. The fact I’ve not had to join a military / reserve or face conscription is the efforts (and sacrifices) of people like them. At the moment I’d much rather see a new alliance formed, based around the Five-Eyes, plus the Scandinavians, Japan, South Korea, France and Holland if they commit to certain spending. Other countries would have to demonstrate a clear commitment to ~3% GDP on their military spending and reform of their logistics to join. We should ourselves be aiming for a proper 2.5 – 3% GDP spend – fold half the aid budget into the RN and build a new fleet of support ships like Argus or the Bays to support our dependencies and friendly poorer nations; send out more training missions to help train their forces across the spectrum. Grrr – rant over – thanks for reading. I’m off for a cold beer, shower and a silent endless scream towards the Heavens … !

    • According to the likes of Owen Jones and his ilk you are already extreme right wing not quite a fascist/nazi yet but heading that way.

    • Great post Elizzar, I couldn’t agree more, especially with regards the aid budget.

      It seems eminently sensible and a far better use of the aid budget. A fleet of 5-7 bay class-like ships would allow for 3-4 vessels and provisions to be pre-positioned around the globe ready to go at a moments notice to any unfolding natural disaster.

    • Instead of feeling dirty and in need of a shower, you should be feeling free and cleansed of the obfuscation and outright lies you’ve been liberally fed. The lowly state NATO has brought itself to, thanks to the short-sighted and naive fiscal and foreign policies of numerous European governments, makes it obvious that you were sold a very bad deal, not just once, but repeatedly.

  5. (Chris H)Williamson will be phoning Merkel and offering jobs to idle Luftwaffe Typhoon pilots seeing as we are expanding out Tiffy fleet. If they can remember how to do it of course ….

    So if they can’t maintain what they have how can they afford to buy some more?

    And come on you lot ‘fess up – who is enjoying some ‘Schadenfreude’ over this?

  6. Germany has effectively unilaterally disarmed, as have many NATO countries. Our President is quite right to take them to task for this — growing fat and lazy while Americans are left to maintain an effective military

  7. Thank God for Brexit!!!!! Lord Trump will save us!!!!!!!

    I am digging a nuclear bunker. Tesco was running out of tins in my local store. Perhaps others have the same idea! Time for some more Civil Defence Lessons.

    As an RE and Philosophy teacher I will of course provide philosophical reasons for fighting – thank you Utilitarians! And we could also use the help of the Kantians: could we universalise MAD?

    Or, do we all just lie down and let it happen. I just need Téa Leoni to stand on the beach with me! (Just a little one for Deep Impact fans!)

  8. I’m not enjoying this one bit. This is a NATO ally in very poor health. And as I said, it’s not just about money. They need a thorough overhaul of how they do things. It’s very sad and worrying indeed. Not a joking matter at all.

    • Disagree ..total joke.
      Largest European economy and this is the situation.
      Shows where their priorities lie.
      The Germans are masters at organisation and efficiency so are more than capable if they wish.

      • They’ve become smug, lazy and overly reliant on UK and US forces to do the leg work. A virtually insignificant presence in Afghan said alot about how they operate and see their role in the alliance.
        The only none English speaking force to throw some bodies through the doors consistently were the Estonians. Good lads they are, we should pony up with them a lot more than the Germans.
        If anybody tries to say the Danish saddled up can put their crack pipe down. They hated us and didn’t want to know towards the end. Consistently showing their disdain for us earned a few of them some black eyes around the MOBs

      • Precisely my point AV! They need to sort themselves out! But it’s no joking matter or cause for rejoicing. On the contrary, the only one laughing here is Putin

  9. Is it possible to expel someone from NATO? Say for breaching terms of membership, like having an armed forces?

  10. It’s a shocking read, utterly crashed to the floor!

    Good call regarding Typhoon pilots though, the RAF should approach bored Luftwaffe pilots, come and join the A team guys!

    NATO’s turning into a joke and the Germans want to form an EU defence force too! You couldn’t make this up, what an utter bloody shambles!

  11. Another fine example of why we should be holding on to the £40 Billion in the Brexit divorce bill and allocating a large portion of it to the UK’s defence budget.

    We need to take care of our boarders first and let them worry about theirs. EUROPEAN TRADING PARTNERS will always be defended against aggression by the HM armed forces.

    And don’t forget to allocate some of the £18 Billion on overseas aid either. Wake up call to HMG, we call the shots in the Brexit negotiations not them. Grow some.

    • Agree with you Nigel.

      Except in reality it is not us calling the shots from what I read. May has backed down on almost every red line. Bill. ECHR. Fishing, and now wants aligned Customs. Apparently she is still standing firm on free movement but from what I read from the Home Secretary they will open the flood gates to non EU migrants instead.

      Equals no change whatsoever.

      • (Chris H) Daniele – Sorry I must disagree with your rather poorly researched comments regarding the PM and what she has achieved:
        * TM has not backed down on any ‘red Lines’. its why the Remoaners are still having hissy fits. Or maybe you can name one?
        * the settlement bill is a combination of what we committed to pay into the Eu as aprt of their 7 year spending round. the rest is spread over 30+ years for pensions etc. And they will get nothing if there is no deal.As she has said ‘Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’
        * The ECHR is actually nothing to do with the EU and so is not part of the negotiations. Unless you meant the ECJ – but even there we will not be under its jurisdiction.
        * We leave the CFP in March next year. Gove has stated in Parliament and on the record elsewhere we will resume control of our 200 mile (or median) fishing waters. We have already removed EU trawlers from our 12 mile zone.
        * Customs are never aligned. Each country follows its own domestic taxation rules. Customs falls under that. Unless you mean Tariffs but then WTO has its own rules regarding equal tariffs
        * Can you please provide a link where Sajid Javid has said he will ‘open the floodgates’?

        Sadly (unlike you) you seem to have just peddled some stuff to suit your confirmation bias about this Government. Given the size and power of the Establishment, Big Business, MPs, Lords and other Remain forces fighting against her I feel TM has done a bloody marvellous job. She has lost ONE amendment vote in the Commons and won hundreds and returned every wrecking amendment back to the House of Lords. We now have every Law in place required to leave the EU in an orderly fashion. Deal or no deal and the date is enshrined in law – March 29th 2019

  12. There is always the mention of the common defence pact in terms of NATO, yet Germany have consistantly demonstrated very little interest in it. And why would they?

    They have the largest economy in the EU by a margin of around $1 TRILLION USD compared to the second largest (UK) while managing to run a budget surplus?

    Meanwhile they have effectively been provided free entry to the nuclear deterrent party by the US, serviced by an ageing tornado fleet approaching apparent obsolescence. Their land forces in terms of personnel and armour have been supplemented by way of thousands upon thousands of British troops (although this does strategically serve the U.K, granted) all while pumping billions upon billions into the Russian economy by way of energy/oil & gas purchases while using that same Russia to justify foreign forward basing as a deterrence against aggression. I’m no Trump fan but the bloke does make a valid point. Germany has been having its cake and eating it for quite some time. And now this news?!

    The recent reports of the lack of available/serviceable military equipment and state of readiness coming out of Germany recently is frankly terrifying considering their position within the EU as a whole. The complete lack of long term strategic commitment from Germany is not something that can be rectified over the short or medium term and will take significant capital investment and time to recover from. Naturally if this commitment was to be forthcoming – which it most certainly won’t under the current leadership, this foreign investment will be needed for possibly decades while Germany take actions to recover from it.

    The MOD are by no means guilt free, but in comparison the difference is staggering. Considering in theory we have more serviceable F-35’s than Germany has Typhoons, it beggars belief!

    What a truly sorry state of affairs.

  13. This is bad, very bad.

    NATO needs to move from agreed spending targets (input) to agreed capability targets (output). This will put emphasis on genuine defence as opposed to work share and the ‘circular economy’, it will move the focus to efficient delivery of capability, and thought out threat modelling.

    V Deployable Squadrons of Swing Role, W Amphibs, X Surface Combatants, Y Istar, Z Deployable Divisions.

    This is critical, otherwise we are just throwing money on a firepit.

  14. People seem to forgot the reality that Germany spends in raw money almost as much as we do. The idea that we spend a huge amount more.and prop them up is just wrong. This is also NATO audited figures.

    What i am not sure is where the money goes but my guess is they have all the behind the scenes gear where the UK time and time again has shown it lacks, for example body armour, machine guns, missiles, accommodation maintenance etc etc that make us in no realistic position to fight a war any more than Germany is.

    Does anyone realistically think our ships go to sea with a full set of missiles or general ammo? We also had a low percentage of combat jets available for service a few years back.

    Yes Germany should up it’s game as it is at biggest threat in western Europe but so should the UK.

    • Hiya Steve,

      You make a fair point except that this report specifically points out that missile availability and maintenance infrastructure are two of the key reasons the German Airforce has only 3% availability on the Typhoon! 3%!!

      Granted in the most part it seems to be down to a sensor issue but the fact is their industry and infrastructure seems unable to help in any meaningful timescale. That’s only compounded by by the lack of German willingness to address the issues.

      If anything you point is in reverse… Germany seems to have the kit but completely lacks the ‘behind the scenes’ means to rectify.

      As for a suggested lack of machine guns and body armour as you say, in my personal experience that kit was never in short supply, it did need desperately updating and some point which Herrick and Telic went a long way to addressing under various UOR’s. But on the whole, with a similar sized defence budget we do significantly better than most if not all of our EU neighbours. Even more so when you consider pensions, housing and CASD are all included in our total

      Cheers

    • (Chris H) Steve – Actual amounts isn’t the point – NATO has rules and the biggest European economy is giving the middle digit to those that meet (or in the case of the USA exceed) those rules. We get lectured about EU Rules and how ‘we can’t have our cake and eat it’ (and other dumb trigger phrases) but apparently Germany can …..

      They spend barely half what they should (and that is a minimum and yes we should spend more in the UK) but does that explain why they can only operate some 30% of their Leopard tanks, they build listing frigates and can’t maintain a full Typhoon force where every other country operating them can?

  15. Maybe they can lend them to Ireland. Their PM seems to think he doesn’t need the RAF to defend Ireland these days.

  16. There are only ever 4 typhoons at combat ready in the UK too. The rest are flown without the cooling components fitted, as there not needed, in training missions. You think the 22 typhoons that flew over London all had coolers fitted ?

    But I know what the issue is, each cooler leaks. The coolant lubricated the fan. If the coolant is empty the fan seizes and has to be replaced. This happens every week at a cost of £250k a go.
    But that price is set by bae and approved by Whitehall. So someone’s making billions.

  17. Why should we defend Germany when it doesn’t want to defence itself. It has the biggest economy in Europe and they can’t defend themselves. No wonder Trump is upset as the German’s (1.2% of GDP) is not going far. As an aside most of this 1.2% is spent on pensions and salaries and not on equipment.

  18. “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”………. personally I would have thought October 1940 when they lost the battle of Britain might have been a lower point

  19. (Chris H) – very interesting comments from our new Foreign Secretary after meeting with the German Foreign Minister:

    https://www.politico.eu/article/jeremy-hunt-theresa-may-eu-uk-help-us-avoid-generational-brexit-fissure/

    I was particularly pleased to see he said the UK would not ‘blink first’ over negotiations with the EU and that a ‘no deal’ while not wanted holds no fears for us. And he is right if the EU plays hardball and we leave with no deal (and our £39 Bn) the only person laughing will be Putin as European security and defence will be weakened. Personally I can see us and the Yanks folding NATO, saving a lot of money and letting the EU stew in its own mess. We have 5 Eyes they have nothing

    But then if it was left to bilateral agreements between Nation States like Germany and the UK we would have nailed this down a year ago. Its a no brainer but sadly we have the Elephant in the room – The EU playing supra national politicking with people’s lives …. bastards. And note that even in Germany there are splits at the heart of Government:

    “Stephan Mayer, a junior interior minister from the conservative Bavarian CSU [and] sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU, told the BBC the Chequers plan is both “workable” and a “deeply appealing and interesting approach.” His softer line is consistent with his party’s more welcoming approach to the U.K., but Merkel’s government has so far adopted a hard line on defending the integrity of the single market”

    • Agree Chris good comments. A no deal hurts them far more than us. They will then be losing a fortune due to the trade surplus and utterly desperate to save their car, wine and cheese industries.

      I wish our politicians would grow a pair and stand up to the EU. Hunts comments are positive, but mere words. I recall May talking tough on Brexit once. I recall Blair talking tough on ECHR when discussing terrorists, and Cameron talking tough on migration. All WORDS. No action.

      I laugh at these comments in the media “cliff edge” “crashing out” etc. In reality what they mean is reverting to WTO rules just like most other nations in the world. For some warped reason they are not on a cliff edge and actually doing fine. Funny that.

      I also laugh at the term “Single Market” It is a protectionist internal market, not a single market, with 10 different currencies, 24 languages, and dozens of business cultures.

    • By announcing that we intend to invest a large proportion of the monies I mentioned on the defence sector, Germany and others will have to decide whether it’s in their countries own best interests to either push hard for a sensible trade deal or stay in the European Union.

      We hold all the cards at the moment and just need to prove conclusively to Brussels it’s not a bluff! With Russia breathing down their neck and ours, defence is the ace in the pack and the more we hold the better the chance of winning.

      And don’t forget to include the additional monies we will have after we leave. 7 Billion pa?
      £20 Billion black hole covered to start with.

      Looking forward to a new PM and Chancellor in the Autumn please God.

      • (Chris H) Nigel Collins – I always use the Treasury figures and the average yearly figure over the last 7 years to date is £13.2 Bn a year. Of course we then get the Remainers “Ah but the Eu spends £x Mn here” forgetting the simple concept that if we didn’t give them our £13.2 Bn in the first place they wouldn’t be able to spend anything here. Or in Poland, or Bulgaria or the other 20 countries that are nett beneficiaries of this EU Ponzi scheme. No wonder they invented ‘qualified Majority Voting’!

        I’d rather portion out all of our OUR £13.2 Bn every year as we see fit and not some of it recycled back to us with a daft blue flag on top …

        Interesting little snippet I picked up from the BBC the other day – Our £13 Bn a year is equivalent to us paying 6% Tariff on everything we sell to EU countries.

      • (Chris H) Nigel Collins – Did I read you right just then? You really want Jeremy Corbyn as PM and McDonnel as Chancellor? And people worry about Brexit …..

        • No (Chris H), A new head of the Conservative party and Chancellor who are sympathetic on defence or possess a half ounce of common sense (same thing).

          Corbyn and Labour would be a total disaster on defence. They are Russia’s secret weapon didnt you know!!!

  20. To coin a modern phrase my first thought was that this must be Fake News! How in the name of heaven can a nation such as Germany sink to such a low point. Beyond belief and hugely irresponsible. As with comment above on this one Ich bin Ein Trumper!!

  21. Foolish….germans as always are going hand in hand with russians in all…it s just a game not a thread….and uk air forces are grounded too. ..no money to run…and just remember costly upgrades of usesless birds…or buying new ones that are not even combat capable…funny conversations.

  22. Hi folks, perhaps this is the type of military Jeremy Corbyn will model the future UK forcieis on. No doubt he or his like will cite the German air force as a good example!

  23. Boy, am I glad that we didn’t fall for this sucker. Other than the Hawker Hunter, the Brits have sold us dummies. And they have pitched in again in the 114 ac tender with this monstrosity. Lord help the Brits, Germany and NATO.

  24. Maybe, we can offer their pilots some flying hours in our Typhoons. However i expect UK jets have different instrumentation having undergone continual development thus German pilots would not be proficient to fly their own. Or is all their flying done on simulators.
    It would free up UK pilots to qualify on the F35 after all. Even if we only have 15. Cannot understand why they are talking of buying 90 more to replace Tornado when their Tranche 1 and 2 probably have so few flying hours and must be in mint condition. Cheaper to upgrade Tranche 2 than buy new. If they don’t fly the Tranche 1 give them to Ireland post brexit. Even the Irish could afford to hire some German pilots. BAE could service the Irish jets. Did the Germans ever take delivery of any Tranche3? Maybe still stored in the German Typhoon Assembly yard.

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