A rare sight in German skies, an Eurofighter EF2000 that seems to be fully combat ready (Image © Marcel Burger)

Alarming low availability German air assets

The star of current German airlift operations, the C-160 Transall, scores a 50% availiability rate (Image © Marcel Burger)
The star of current German airlift operations, the C-160 Transall, scores a 50% availiability rate
(Image © Marcel Burger)

LATEST UPDATE 5 OCTOBER 2014 (CORRECTION READINESS LEVELS) | The air assets of the Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces, are at an alarming low availability rate, according to recent reports leaked to the public via German Der Spiegel magazine.

According to maintenance journals that the editors of Der Spiegel got their hands a shocking low number of only 8 (!) of an official 109 Eurofighter EF2000s, named Typhoon in British service, are fully ready for all combat tasks. Meaning the German Air Force has to rely much on the remaining, aging and maintenance-sensitive Tornado jets to fulfill its duties. But of these 89 swept-wing fighter-bombers and electronic warfare aircraft, only 36 were fully combat ready at the end of September 2014 according to German media.

Helicopters
The number of available Sikorsky CH-53s dropped vertically to as low as 8 machines this summer, while 67 are on strength with an operational aim of 42. The new NHI Industries NH90 – a European product with tremendous problems while being deployed with Germany units in Afghanistan – is not much better of: 5 of the 33 helicopters are flyable. The German Navy’s Sealynx fleet had only four machines available in September.

A main reason for all these problems is partly a lack of funds, partly technical issues with new equipment.

Airlifter
The current star of German international operations, the old C-160 Transall tactical airlifter that flies into Northern Iraq and provides an air bridge between Senegal and the MINUSMA force in Mali, has an availability of about 50 percent – with 20 to 25 of the 56 machines ready to go at a given time.

For airlift operations there is a small beam of light at the end of the horizon, as the Luftwaffe is expecting its first new Airbus A400M at the end of 2014. Hopefully the availability will be much better than that of the new Eurofighter jets. Airheadsfly.com already reported in December 2013 that some of those remain grounded for years in a row.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

The nightmare helicopter of Europe: the NH90, here an German example (Image © Marcel Burger)
The nightmare helicopter of Europe: the NH90, here an German example (Image © Marcel Burger)
A rare sight in German skies, an Eurofighter EF2000 that seems to be fully combat ready (Image © Marcel Burger)
A rare sight in German skies, an Eurofighter EF2000 that seems to be fully combat ready (Image © Marcel Burger)
A pair of German CH-53s training from Alpnach Airbase in Switzerland in 2008  (Image © Marcel Burger)
A pair of German CH-53s training from Alpnach Airbase in Switzerland in 2008 (Image © Marcel Burger)