Thursday, 3 May 2018

Luftwaffe has only four "Eurofighters" combat ready out of 128 jets

Copyright: Photograph by Geoffrey Lee

Translated by google

Luftwaffe has only four combat ready "Eurofighters"

New massive problems with the "Eurofighter": According to SPIEGEL information, only a handful of 128 jet fighters are ready for action. In an emergency, the Bundeswehr could not fulfill its NATO obligations.

Visitors to the International Aerospace Exhibition ILA south of Berlin could admire the "Eurofighter" as a masterpiece of technology these days. The fighter jets of the Bundeswehr thundered over the exhibition grounds at Schönefeld Airport several times last week . The pilots showed daring maneuvers, especially the loops were spectacular.

The mission reality looks grim. According to SPIEGEL information, the Luftwaffe is struggling with a massive problem on the " Eurofighter ". Most of the 128-strong fleet is closed to operations. The engineers are worried about the self-protection system because cooling liquid escapes from a container for sensors, known in the jargon as Wing Pod.

Without the system "That", however, the jet is not ready for real missions. According to insiders, only about ten "Eurofighters" are expected to start real operations at the moment. This refers to the requirements of NATO or even an emergency over Germany, for example, the penetration of enemy aircraft in the air. With the small number, the German pledges to NATO are hardly to meet, in the Alliance has registered 82 "Eurofighter" for crises.

No self-protection no real use

The problem is complicated. Put simply, all "Eurofighters" on the wings have a sensor 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 "That" and this must be active in all operational flights, the number of operational jets drops.

Just recently there was another problem added. 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. The Luftwaffe has learned nothing about it, now you have to improvise.

Even before the discovery of the new problems, the "Eurofighter" was considered a problem child of the Luftwaffe. In an official overview for the Bundestag , only 39 of the 128 jets were listed as ready for use last year. This report, known in the jargon as clarification, was one of the grimmest reports of the many weapons systems and caused negative headlines. But at least it seemed as if the problems were no longer concealed.

Accurate number classified as "secret"

That is precisely why the current reactions of the Bundeswehr are amazing. A spokesman told the SPIEGEL, the "daily up-to-date availability" in the "Eurofighter" currently looks better than 2017, exact numbers are classified as "secret". "The Bundeswehr is currently fully committed to its current operational obligations," emphasized the Bundeswehr. Work is underway to make up for the shortage of spare parts.

The answer is, cautiously misleading. For example, the Luftwaffe counts all "Eurofighter" jets as available, which are allowed to fly at all. But this includes many airmen who do not have a functioning self-protection system. These may be used with dummies on the wings for training flights or maneuvers. Real missions, such as the airspace surveillance on the eastern edge of NATO, are excluded with these jets but.

Reckless tricks with deadlines

The Bundeswehr applies a similar reckoning trick when it claims that it fulfills all NATO obligations. Behind this is the procedure whereby Member States provide deadlines as to when the material needs to be operational. Germany has registered 82 "Eurofighter" for the "High Readiness Force" and the "Force of Lower Readiness".

This gives you 90 and 180 days to deploy ready-to-use jets. However, as there are currently no acute requests, the German Armed Forces can claim to comply with all current operational obligations. An insider: "We can say with a good conscience that large parts of the troop are ready for use because there is currently no mission."

The problem with the self-defense system is currently only one of the concerns of the military. Because the Luftwaffe has only two handful of air combat missiles for the "Eurofighter" fleet, according to SPIEGEL information, only four jets are ready for real combat missions. Since you can not buy the weapons quickly, the Nato requirements are not met even with a lead. Even this detail is classified as "secret".


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