As reported by local outlet Bild, the German Army is currently facing severe available issues with its helicopter fleet.

The German Army only had 8 available Tiger attack helicopters (out of a total of 53) and only 12 ready-to-use NH90 transport helicopters (out of 99) available in November, according to local media.

“The catastrophic operational readiness of the tiger now also affects the training of the pilots. This state of affairs is irresponsible,” Tobias Lindner told BILD here.

Availability issues have been impacting the operational effectiveness of the German military for some time now. Last year, we reported that less than a third of German military assets were operational.

The 2018 ‘Report on the Operational Readiness of the Bundeswehr Primary Weapons Systems’ was presented to Germany’s lower house of parliament with the following headline availability figures.

  • Typhoon jets: 39 of 128
  • Tornado jets: 26 of 93
  • CH-53 transport helicopters: 16 of 72
  • NH-90 transport helicopters: 13 of 58
  • Tiger 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

According to local media, the German Defence Ministry said that a higher number of training missions and deployments since Russia’s intervention in eastern Ukraine in 2014 had caused existing equipment to wear down quicker than it had previously.

“It’s a real disaster for the Navy, it’s the first time in history that there will not be any submarine operating for months,” warned the president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Parliament, Hans-Peter Bartels, in an interview published at the time.

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So what I took from the German Defence ministry statement is “we used them and they broke”


Meanwhile, the Poles have taken up the role of defensive shield for NATO and are pouring resources into their military. I believe they’re shooting for 2000 tanks – many of them ex Bundeswehr Leopard IIs and IIIs (they should be buying M1s or Challengers considering the problems the Turks have been having with survivability of their Leopold fleet in Syria). They very clearly understand the lessons of the past…



Sigh, the problems the Turks have been experiencing with the Survivability of their tanks of any kind has not been the vehicle per say but how they have been used. Sitting a tank on top of a hill and using it like a pillbox without any infantry support is a good way to get it destroyed. Also deploying their Leo-2 with mainly APFSDS rounds when they are being used for COIN is hardly a brilliant idea. The purge of the Turkish Officer corp and replacement with those who are Erdogan loyalists first has had dire consequences for the combat ability… Read more »

BV Buster

Fedaykin-“Sigh, the problems the Turks have been experiencing with the Survivability of their tanks of any kind has not been the vehicle per say but how they have been used” +1 That. Some of the vids coming out of the area are showing basic tactical errors, yes its easy to spot errors without having the full picture or not being there but a tank fully exposed on a hill would result in the troop sergeant driving over for a “face to face” (not allowed to swear on the net) to educate said commander in fire position selection. Keeping on the… Read more »

Bence Atkari

It’s an issue with most conventional tanks as they were not designed to the modern warfare environment. Also these Leopards lack the recent upgrades with which similar tanks faired much better in Afghanistan under similar circumstances.
The article highlights the mistakes the Turkish operators have made the way they have been using their tanks.
It’s safe to say that the upgraded and better protected and appropriately utilised Leopard 2s are still among the bests.


Poles would male a good partner to codevelop some of our land capabilities with by the sound of things.


And to think the person who engineered this debarkle is now the leader of the EU.

Mr Bell

Good point Farouk. Bodes well for the EU doesn’t it?
To think that once Germany used to be considered a reliable and powerful NATO partner, now even Canada can deploy more combat power than Germany. I have checked this fact and the Canadians do have more combat ready military units, but stretched across huge home landmass and Pacific as well as Atlantic coastlines.
No excuse for Germany’s poor military performance other than excessive harvesting of the “peace dividend “

John Clark

It’s piss poor beyond any measurable datum point! It’s time for a good shaking up of NATO, I would suggest that 2% GDP is the minimum paid on defence to be a member state, coupled with the ability (and will) to deploy combat assets out of area, in support of NATO obligations and extended allied stability deployments, such as the French Mali operations. Germany is providing to be a total liability to NATO, perhaps it’s time to deliver an ultimatum to the German government. Also, it represents a very poor return for the German tax payer, with equipment procurement based… Read more »


I’m also amazed the Germans mange to be able to sell so much equipment to other countries seeing most of it never get used in anger.


It does get used in anger, just not by Germany…


I think thats why they sell so many, most of the Leopard 2’s they sold where German surplus to requirement and barely used.

Simon m

2% is not enough look at the state of all the countries other than USA none of them have anywhere near full spectrum capabilities. It is easy to point the finger elsewhere, but the UK has little in the way of assets to defend it’s airspace, it’s coast or land if invaded. Technology is so advanced now it doesn’t pop up overnight. How many ships do we have available? If you re-ran ww2 but with the Russian’s it could be over in weeks the channel virtually no defence now with the range of artillery helicopters etc. Now all this is… Read more »

John Clark

You get no argument from me Simon, 2% is really not good enough (note I did say the absolute minimum though), 3% is about right I think for a broad range of capabilities in sufficient numbers for the task, providing the money is spent wisely and not just gifted to BAE Systems shareholders…


the reason why our 2% is not enough,a chunk of it is used to pay out,compensation,war pension and other benefits,instead of it coming out of the dwp then you have a bigger chunk taken out by our nuclear deterrent which never used to be part of the defense budget,until that fanny Osbourne turned up..our military is a complete joke when you look at the whole picture,for years it has been cut to the bone as a bag up piggy bank for useless politicians who brains are non existent other than to kiss the rear ends of other countries who hate… Read more »

John Clark

I agree Andy, 3% GDP on defence, allocated and ringfenced, is a sensible and sustainable figure. We need a proper SDSR, not an excuse to cut funding, this needs to match funding to forecast operational requirements for the next 10 years. 3% GDP would inject 12 plus billion a year into defence, allowing for planned and sustainable growth of the armed forces, along with better working and living conditions and better wages and bonuses for our armed forces. We need to make that money go ‘much further’ than it does now, not just give it to BAE Systems and Augusta… Read more »

Steve Martin

You’re right defences wise, but remember Russia isn’t exactly awash with decent amphibious capabilities. Most of what they have is out of date and would require a significant escort fleet, the build up of which would be blatantly obvious months in advance. Any theoretical aggression would come via land across and through European and NATO allies or solely via air.


There aren’t any cuts coming from Cummmings, with the exception of the large bureaucracy at Whitehall which includes the MOD. A lot of mandarins looking to just string things out to their fat pension or a well paid consultancy role in the defence industry are in for a nasty shock.

Martin Bandholm

Has it occured to you that perhaps the bureaucracy is there for a reason, and that cutting it might turn into a really big issue?
Not saying that bureaucracy should be big or just allowed to expand without hindrence… But an aweful lot of work is done on a daily basic (work that is absolutely crucial) by clerks and the like.


Bureaucracy is a necessity, but unfortunately like most organisations is prone to bloat through the empire building of middle management seeking to maintain and enhance their importance. Unfortunately the public sector doesn’t compete in an open market which is what helps prevent this bloat in private industry. From those I know that have worked in Whitehall and the Cabinet Office, there are gross inefficiencies due to bloat, lack of modern technology, poor management, and general spendthrift. When departmental cuts have been made in the past, it’s generally front line staff outside of the Whitehall machine that do the daily basic… Read more »

Martin Bandholm

That the private market is better at keeping the bureaucracy in check, is a myth, you only have to look at the bank sector, the insurance sector or most succesful big companies that deal in innovation or tech… We know that there are inefficiencies, and ofc there need to be done stuff to limit it… However most of the ineffeciencies are due to lack of decisions (or lack of government). An example: The T26 frigate has become something like twice as costly pr unit than was originally expected. Was it because burocrats didn’t know what they did? Was it because… Read more »


Nonsense. If the private sector is bloated, inefficient, uncompetitive, and it does nothing, it goes bust. When did a government Dept last go bust? You mentioned insurance. When I worked at Lloyds of London in the 90’s, losses were the greatest in U.K. corporate history. One of the things it did was cut the number of claim handing depts from 3 to 1. The axe hit staff from front line staff through to director level. But the same amount of work got done and customer service maintained. I saw the same rationalisation at all levels while working at WPP, Centrica,… Read more »

Martin Bandholm

It isn’t, and no they don’t always go bust, quit often they manage to cut off extra people, that is where the private sector has its advantage, it can more easily fire employees… However to do so, there has to be people that didn’t pull their weight in the key areas… Your example of Llyods is just that, a lot of people not doing their jobs and getting kicked, but before that happened they actually had to be there. You mention that government depts is safe because of taxes… However that is not the case. Firstly because taxes are not… Read more »


Wrong again. The employment law in the U.K. doesn’t differentiate between private sector and public sector employees. It is NOT easy for the private sector to shed surplus employees. You’re also completely wrong about the Lloyds of London example. Everybody involved was pulling their own weight and doing their jobs. The problem was that their working methods were antiquated and inefficient and each of the three offices had become middle-management fiefdoms, as happens in bureaucracies. Through BPR and the introduction of new technology the workload was reduced and this made it then easier to amalgamate into a single dept. As… Read more »

Martin Bandholm

“Everybody involved was pulling their own weight and doing their jobs. The problem was that their working methods were antiquated and inefficient and each of the three offices had become middle-management fiefdoms, as happens in bureaucracies.” As was my argument… I am from Denmark, so I am not completely into UK labour laws, so if what you say is correct, then it is not a question of free market vs government, as you say government can sack as easily, or private companies have as much trouble sacking employees… That is a structual problem then, and a very ineffective form of… Read more »


Oh Martin, you’ve finally revealed yourself. I could tell from the clumsy grammar that you weren’t a native English speaker. My only question was if you lived in occupied Europe or had escaped to freedom here in the U.K. Now we all know why you are so anti-Cummings, because he’s helped the UK break free of EU tyranny. So I’m not sure if you’re deliberately being disengenuous or just failing to comprehend English properly. So first up… You said the people axed at Lloyds of London must have been “lazy” and “not doing their job”. I pointed out that that… Read more »


This from the country that built the Bismarck… 😂

peter french

Well so much for German efficiency .