Defense Minister: Germany Unable to Meet NATO Commitments

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, July 10, 2014From Deutsche Welle:  Germany could not currently fulfill its NATO commitments in the event of an attack on a member of the alliance, owing in part to severe backlogs in replacement parts for its aircraft.

“With our airborne systems we are currently below the target figures announced one year ago, defining what we would want to make available to NATO within 180 days in the case of an emergency,” Defense Minister [Ursula] von der Leyen told the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper. “Delays for replacement parts for our planes and the missing helicopters are the reason for this.”

On Saturday, news magazine “Der Spiegel” reported that the promised fleet of 60 Eurofighters could not currently be provided, while the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” daily paper had reported that von der Leyen had called an emergency meeting on the matter on Friday.

The bulk of Germany’s air force is currently grounded. Only 42 of 109 Eurofighters are currently ready for service, while 38 of 89 Tornado fighters could take to the skies. Earlier in the week, problems with Sea Lynx helicopters currently serving in the EU’s anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa became public knowledge, months after the issue was first identified. As for Germany’s fleet of C-160 transport planes, just over half – 24 of 43 – are in service; their replacement model, Airbus’ A400M currently in development, is behind schedule. Von der Leyen said she would look into the possibility of leasing equipment to plug some gaps, saying it would take years to build up a full fleet of A400M aircraft. . . .

Politicians in both the grand coalition and the opposition have called for the Defense Ministry to invest more to plug the gaps, with the conservative CSU’s defense expert Florian Hahn saying that the Bundeswehr had not been spending all its available resources. Hahn told newspaper “Die Welt” that between 2008 and 2014, the military sent back a total of 4 billion euros (roughly $5 billion) that parliament had authorized for the Bundeswehr.

From Frank Jordans, AP:  Germany’s military is unable to meet its medium-term readiness target should NATO call on its members to mobilize against an attack, officials said Monday.

The revelation follows days of embarrassing reports about equipment failures that included German army instructors being stranded in Bulgaria en route to Iraq when their plane broke down, and delays in sending weapons to arm Kurdish fighters because of another transport problem.

In the latest incident, the military said one of two aging C-160 aircraft flying German aid to Ebola-affected West Africa has also been grounded on the island of Gran Canaria since the weekend, awaiting repairs.

Image: German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, July 10, 2014 (photo: Bundeswehr)