Last month we reported on the US putting Germany’s military on notice with reports that Germany’s military had fallen into the scrapyard, US Put’s Germany’s Military on Notice.
British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and his German counterpart Ursula Von der Leyen have met in London where the two talked about a ‘stronger defence relationship’.
Back in Novembers Strategic Defence and Security Review, Germany was formally recognised as a ‘tier one’ ally. However as we reported last month, the German Military was put on notice by the US with comments such as many of its military hardware was fit for just the scrapyard, with vast amounts of the countries major weapons systems unavailable for training exercises or deployment, according to a new German Defence Ministry report.
Germany’s Defence Ministry report comes after the Bundestag’s military commissioner, Hans-Peter Bartels, complained about “large holes in personnel and equipment” in the Bundeswehr in a separate paper published in mid-February.
The shocking findings from the reports show a military that is operationally ineffective to deploy at quick notice.
Number of weapon systems ready for action:
Typhoon jets: 39 of 128Tornado jets: 26 of 93CH-53 transport helicopters: 16 of 72NH-90 transport helicopters: 13 of 58Tigre attack helicopters: 12 of 62A400M transport aircraft: 3 of 15Leopard 2 tanks: 105 of 224Frigates: 5 of 13Submarines: 0 out of 6
The MOD said the Williamson & Bartels along with their teams met to discuss strengthening defence ties. The German Defence Minister and Gavin Williamson also took the opportunity to meet a group of German junior officers, who have been learning about UK defence at the Ministry of Defence.
Both nations have a strong history of working together in NATO and as part of the Counter-Daesh coalition, working together to tackle terrorist threats, build allies’ capacity and boost Europe’s security.
According to Germany’s domestic 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.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “The UK and Germany face the same intensifying threats to our way of life and we work closely together to protect our citizens from harm. Germany is one of our closest allies and I look forward to even closer cooperation.”
The visit follows on from increased cooperation between the two countries. February saw the successful Ministerial Equipment Capability Cooperation talks in Berlin and the latest annual UK-Germany Army Staff Talks, which took place in London.
The real shocking findings is Germany’s navy, where for the first time in history Germany will have no operational submarines which will last for months as Germany’s armed forces across their land, air and sea capabilities are continuing to fall apart.
Germany, like the UK has had its own defence cuts, but has also made things worse by not replacing out of date equipment.
The German Navy lost its last submarine in October, as the rudder of its last Type 212A was severely damaged in a collision with a rock off the Norwegian coast while the rest of the fleet was out of service. It is also understood that none of the new frigates, the Type 125s, are able to enter into operational service due to defects and a similar situation is faced by auxiliary ships, Berlin and Bonn, which were sent to dry dock for a year and a half of repairs.
In 2015, it was revealed that only 29 of Germany’s 66 Tornado jets are airworthy. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen then stressed that only six of the operational Tornado jets would be needed for the proposed German mission in Syria.
Germany’s air force has also been crippled with only 39 of its 128 Typhoons operational and its Tornado Squadrons appear to have been effected by fuel for the aircraft being mixed with ‘too much bio-diesel’. According to news site Frankfurter Allgemeine, this was noticed during a routine check last Monday:
“The tolerance values are minimally exceeded,” said Colonel Kristof Conrath of the Tactical Air Force Squadron 51. “It’s not that the aircraft would fall from the sky. For safety reasons, all tanks of the aircraft must be flushed.”
It is understood that this breakdown is particularly annoying for the Luftwaffe, as training of new Tornado pilots is already three months behind.
This shocking look into Germany’s armed forces comes also with Germany supposed to be taking over as leader of NATOs Russian-Aimed Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) early next year, when in reality, Germany’s military is only ready for the scrapyard giving a worrying hole in NATOs eastern front defence against Russia. A leaked German Defence Ministry document also Germany just does not have enough tanks to take on this role.
Specifically, the Bundeswehr’s 9th tank brigade in Münster has only nine operational Leopard 2 tanks, even though it promised to have 44 ready for the VJTF, and only three of the promised 14 Marder armored infantry vehicles.
The paper also revealed the reason for this shortfall: a lack of spare parts and the high cost and time needed to maintain the vehicles. It added that it was also lacking night-vision equipment, automatic grenade launchers, winter clothing and body armour.
The German air force is also struggling to cover its NATO duties, the document revealed. The Luftwaffe’s main forces — the Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets and its CH-53 transport helicopters — are only available for use an average of four months a year — the rest of the time the aircraft are grounded for repairs and rearmament.