Germany's Air Force Has a Serious Problem

Michael Peck

Key point: If the Germans can't be relied upon to maintain an air force, who in Europe can?

President Trump’s goal of Europe taking more responsibility for its own defense may come crashing to Earth.

Because if Germany’s most advanced fighters can't even fly, then how the U.S. drawback on its European military commitments without undermining the Western security alliance?

The German magazine Spiegel recently revealed that most of the Luftwaffe’s—the modern German air force’s—128 Eurofighter Typhoons are not flightworthy.

In fact, only about ten of the aircraft are ready for operations, Spiegel said. This raises doubts about Germany’s ability to meet its NATO defense commitments.

“The problem is complicated,” according to Spiegel.

“Put simply, all Eurofighters have a sensor on the wings that detects enemy jets or attacks and warns the pilot. About half a year ago, it was discovered that the pod is no longer properly cooled. Since it is central to the self-protection system and this must be active in all operational flights, the number of operational jets drops.

In addition, “although the technicians could replace the defective pods on the wings, they needed a specific spare part to seal the cooling circuit. However, this, according to the sobering response of the industry, is currently unavailable because the manufacturer has been sold.”

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