Germany better hope that Europe’s various artificial war-deterring monetary, customs, economic, political and so forth “unions” hold for the foreseeable future, as the alternative could be dire.
According to Spiegel, only four of the Luftwaffe’s state-of-the-art Eurofighter jets are currently in good enough shape to be called on in the event of an invasion of German airspace, leaving the German armed forces to once again have to fight off allegations that their forces are not fit for combat.
Theoretically the Luftwaffe has 128 Eurofighters – which make up the majority of Germany’s air combat force – ready for deployment. But in a Wednesday report on Spiegel, a defect in the jets’ self-defense systems means that in practice only four them can be sent on mission.
The defect concerns a sensor on the jet’s wing which alerts pilots to an incoming attack. Technicians noticed a year and a half ago that the sensors were not staying cool during flights. It was then discovered that the cooling liquid had been leaking out of the pods the sensors were housed in.
Obtaining a replacement has not been easy, however. The reason: a special seal is required to hold the liquid inside, but the company that produced the seal was quietly sold off without the supplier informing the German Defense Ministry.
Germany’s lack of military preparedness could also infuriate Trump as it means Germany can not even fulfill its basic NATO obligations. Europe’s biggest economy has pledged to its NATO partners that it could deploy 82 Eurofighters in the event of a military crisis. In reality, it could not even do 5% of that.
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For years the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) have been dogged by allegations they are not ready for real life missions.
Earlier this year a damning parliamentary report concluded that the state of the military preparedness had deteriorated further in recent years: “The army’s readiness to deploy has not improved in recent years, but instead has got even worse,” Parliamentary Armed Forces Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels said as he presented his annual findings at a press conference in February.
The lack of a credible German airforce follows a similar involuntary phase out of Germany’s submarine capabilities. By the end of 2017, all Germany’s submarines were in drydock for repairs, while in recent months there have been periods where none of the air force’s 14 A400M transport planes were airworthy.
The report also found wider problems in Luftwaffe. Air force pilots are unable to train as their aircraft are grounded for maintenance for much of the year, the report noted.
Spending on defense has been cut repeatedly since 1990 and the end of the Cold War, leaving the army with often outdated equipment and the defense industry unable to suddenly increase production to fill the gaps.
While the probability of a major war breaking out in Europe at this moment is slim, Europe’s biggest economy being unable to even modestly satisfy NATO requirements could be just the catalyst that sets Trump off the rails during his next meeting with Merkel, having repeatedly laid out his demands that Germany and other NATO member states step up their defense spending to the recommended 2% of GDP threshold.
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