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.
“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.
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.