The Federal Ministry of Defense has submitted the 12th Armaments Report and the report on the material readiness of the main weapon systems of the Bundeswehr II / 2020. The two documents are intended to inform the public and parliament.
The 12th armaments report
The 12th report of the Federal Ministry of Defense on armaments shows that, despite the difficult times of the pandemic, noticeable improvements have been made in the modernization and equipment of the Bundeswehr. The Federal Ministry of Defense has made continuous, albeit slow, progress in armaments projects and procurement.
The Bundeswehr is to be optimally equipped by 2032. Therefore, the challenge of modernizing the Bundeswehr’s equipment continues unabated, according to the armaments report. This not only requires a high-performing armaments division and reliable industrial partners. Adequate funding, with a reliable and steadily increasing defense budget, is also necessary in order to be able to provide the required capabilities that have been promised to our partners.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has called for a budget for the Bundeswehr that is based on these requirements. The 2021 defense budget envisages spending of around 46.8 billion euros. The budget target is around 1.2 billion euros above the 2020 budget.
In September 2019, the minister decided to optimize procurement so that the equipment could reach the soldiers of the Bundeswehr more easily and more quickly. Not the one big, comprehensive reform, but many small but important improvement steps should lead to the goal.
In the case of military procurement, the volume of expenditure in 2021 will increase by around 154 million euros compared to the previous year. There are increases in particular in the procurement of vehicles and combat vehicles, field equipment and quartermaster material as well as in the procurement of combat aircraft such as the Eurofighter and the Euro drone.
Specifically, 8.09 billion euros are earmarked for military procurement in the 2021 budget, 4.53 billion euros for equipment maintenance and 1.65 billion euros for research, development and testing.
The budget committee of the German Bundestag had approved 23 budget proposals of over 25 million euros each as of October 31 of this year. This corresponds to a financial volume of 18.1 billion euros.
The Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr concluded 8,860 procurement contracts by October 31.
The implementation of the program should also bring noticeable improvements for the Bundeswehr. In this context, the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, General Eberhard Zorn, approved the use of the specialist strategy in July 2020. Their contents are designed using a technical concept for use. The 30-day inventory of spare and replacement parts is currently being gradually built up, by 2023. The planning focus remains on regaining the skills that the Bundeswehr needs for national and alliance defense. The armaments report expressly refers to this.
The General Zorn stated about the Bundeswehr's operational readiness: "The Bundeswehr is ready for action and a reliable partner." It fulfills the orders and requirements placed on it at all times and without restriction. "Even if we still live on the substance in some areas," says Zorn. Operational readiness is the yardstick by which the Bundeswehr is measured. That is why the General Inspector continues to focus on increasing the troop's available material inventory.
The operational readiness initiative launched by Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at the beginning of this year is showing initial results. In this context, more than 25 individual measures were developed, closely coordinated with the inspectors of the military services, the presidents of the Federal Offices for Equipment, Information Technology and Use (BAAINBw Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr), Infrastructure, Environmental Protection and Services (BAIUDBw ) as well as the personnel management of the Bundeswehr (BAPersBwBundesamt) and the department heads of the Federal Ministry of Defense.
This already brought noticeable improvements. The material readiness for use of all 69 main weapons systems of the Federal Armed Forces has increased again in the past six months and is on average now at 74 percent. The target value of 70 percent material deployment was exceeded for 41 major weapon systems, but 12 were however lower than 50 percent, the report said.
Examples of positive development
Examples of a positive development are the Eurofighter, with over 66 percent; the A400M with 45 percent and the armored vehicles of the armed forces base with a material readiness of between 75 and 85 percent. According to the report, however, the sometimes serious differences in material operational readiness between the individual weapon systems are still unsatisfactory. For example, they are over 90 percent for brand new, unprotected trucks - but only just under 40 percent for helicopters.
The aim of the operational readiness initiative is to consistently continue on the path taken in 2021 and to make the abundance of measures tangible for every member of the Bundeswehr.
The Inspector General emphasizes: “The vast majority of the main weapon systems continue to run stably and have good material operational readiness. The improvements introduced by the procurement organization task force, the use of the agenda and the material trend reversal are taking effect. "
Proof of the capabilities of the Bundeswehr
The Inspector General cites administrative assistance in the event of a pandemic as proof of the capabilities of the Bundeswehr. The Bundeswehr reacted quickly and with great agility from the start and again demonstrated its efficiency with the appropriate support from the federal and state governments. The Bundeswehr is where it is needed.
Readiness for action through digitization
One of the lessons of the pandemic is that the Bundeswehr's previous experience with administrative assistance against COVID-19 underlined that digitization is an essential basis for maintaining operational readiness. "The readiness of the Bundeswehr is - wherever digitization solutions are available - continuously guaranteed," said Zorn.
Click here for the full report (111 PDF pages), on the German MoD website.