Equipment: Positive Trend Continues
(Source: German Ministry of Defense; issued June 16, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
On June 9, the 11th report of the Federal Ministry of Defense on armaments matters (Armaments Report) was published, at the same time as the report on the material operational readiness of the Bundeswehr's main weapon systems.

The reports provide Parliament and the public with a comprehensive overview of developments in the defense sector and the equipment of the force.

Last year, a total of 31 parliamentary bills with a volume of over 25 million euros were approved and around 14 billion euros invested.

Just under four billion was spent on equipment maintenance. Around six billion euros went into military procurement. Almost 2.7 billion euros were also invested in operator solutions such as Heeresinstandsaltungslogistik GmbH or BWI GmbH.

Defense expenditure is expected to continue to grow until 2024, so that the Bundeswehr's equipment can continue to improve and new capabilities can be made available to soldiers. There is agreement within the federal government to finance major large-scale projects. These are intended to close gaps in capabilities and fulfill commitments made to allies. For the General Inspector of the Bundeswehr, General Eberhard Zorn, the focus is on a triad of "greater robustness, redundancy and persistence".

Major equipment arrives

“Baden-Württemberg,” the lead ship of the new Type 125 frigate class, was put into service last June. The Bundeswehr was also able to take delivery of five Eurofighters, seven A400M transport planes, 25 Boxer armored transport vehicles, 64 Puma armored personnel carriers and 780 unprotected transport vehicles with a military payload of 5 to 15 tons.

At the same time, the production of the corvettes of the second batch of the K130 class began, and the acquisition procedure for the heavy transport helicopter was initiated.

Lessons learned

“After more than 20 years of saving, we now receive new material every day - including large weapon systems. We can only achieve this turnaround in the long term if the defense budget continues to rise,” the Inspector General made clear. Above all, the procurement of spare parts packages is beginning to have an impact. "This is something we have learned from the past," said Secretary of State for Armaments Benedict Zimmer. "We procure armament projects at the same time as related spare parts and special tools. That has a lasting impact on operational readiness.”

At the same time, more attention is paid to the performance of the industry. Quality defects are no longer accepted. "If the equipment is not operational, it will not be accepted," said Zimmer. The non-acceptance of the NH-90 Sea Lion helicopter by the Navy, and the request to industry to immediately begin repairs, this procedure was already implemented.

International cooperation

The past year was marked by international cooperation. Large arms projects were initiated with France in particular. In addition to the development of a land combat system, the Main Ground Combat System under German leadership, the first milestones towards joint development of a Future Air Combat System (Next Generation Weapon System in the Future Combat Air System) were achieved. As part of this French-led project, a joint concept study has been underway since last year. Spain has also been on board here since the beginning of this year.

In addition to these future projects, Germany is living the European idea in the form of cooperation with other countries. German-Norwegian and German-Dutch cooperation should be mentioned here in many projects.

Safe to act, even in times of crisis

Especially in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bundeswehr has shown that it can quickly procure urgently needed equipment and materials as part of administrative assistance in times of crisis. From March to the end of April 2020, a total of 74 contracts with a total volume of 363 million euros were concluded by the Bundeswehr. Together with the General Customs Directorate and the Procurement Office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the procurement organization has demonstrated how flexible and targeted action can be taken in times of crisis.


Click here for the full report (115 PDF pages, in German) on the German MoD website.

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Main Weapon Systems of the Bundeswehr: Operational Readiness Over 70 Percent
(Source: German Ministry of Defense; issued June 16, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Inspector General Zorn presented on June 9 the Spring report on the material readiness of the Bundeswehr's main weapon systems for spring 2020. There is light, but there are also darker areas.

The Defense Minister's stipulation was clear. "At the end of the year, we have to be better off in terms of material availability than in 2019", Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said when the "Initiative for Readiness" was presented in February. A joint effort by the entire Bundeswehr must ensure that the availability of equipment and vehicles is raised above the self-imposed benchmark of 70 percent by the end of the year. Another failure to reach this level, as happened the previous year, was “not acceptable,” the minister said at the time.

Half a year later, it looks as if the Bundeswehr met the minister's target. "The material operational readiness of the 68 main armed systems of the Bundeswehr has increased slightly in the past six months and is just over 70 percent," said General Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said when presenting the "Report on the material operational readiness of the main weapon systems of the Bundeswehr" for the first half of 2020. The report is published twice a year, together with the armaments report, in order to keep citizens and the Bundestag up to date on developments in armaments and procurement.

Big differences between weapon systems

Germany's highest-ranking soldier was still not entirely happy. All in all, the material readiness of the troops is "unsatisfactory due to the large spread between the individual weapon systems." The material readiness of the unprotected trucks newly included in the group of main weapon systems is about 90 percent, but the helicopter is less than 40 percent.

Zorn went on to say that the Leopard 2 main battle tank, the Eurofighter and the A400M in particular had positive developments. In addition, "new standards in procurement and introduction" would be set for the unprotected trucks newly included in the group of main weapon systems: The delivery rates were twice as high as expected, and the vehicles can be flexibly adapted to the needs of the troops.

According to Zorn, troops can currently receive up to ten brand new trucks a day. By the end of the year, more than 2,000 of the modern transporters should be available to the armed forces.

There is still a clear need for improvement in the Puma infantry fighting vehicle and the mobile facilities of the medical service. However, he is confident that the measures already introduced in the second half of 2020 will have an impact on the operational readiness of the Puma in particular.


Click here for the full report (19 PDF pages, in German), on the German MoD website.

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