The German Ministry of Defense has been criticized. The Federal Association of the German Aerospace Industry accuses the federal government of not considering the interests of its own industry in negotiations with the USA. The consequences of this careless approach are far-reaching.
The Federal Ministry of Defense is apparently planning to order new fighter jets and helicopters in the USA for many billions of euros. The involvement of German industry probably plays no role in the mind games. Even the maintenance should not be taken over by the German industry, as reported by “Welt”.
A circumstance that causes horror at the Federal Association of the German Aerospace Industry (BDLI). The association warns of the danger that German industry will be completely forgotten about the planned purchase of F-35 fighter jets and CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters for more than 16 billion euros.
In a video conference, BDLI representatives therefore sharply criticized the government. In particular, the hitherto absent demand from Washington to be involved at least in the maintenance, repair and support of the models is fatal frivolity. The Ministry of Defense is making a dangerous dependency. The German industry should sit at the table on an equal footing “and not leave everything to friends in the USA,” explained Martin Kroell from the BDLI Executive Committee.
Conversely, a waiver would mean that the new US fighter jets or helicopters for the German armed forces would be maintained in other European countries in the US armed forces network or by the US companies Lockheed (F-35) or Boeing (Chinook), according to Kroell.
In addition to the strategic consequences, the damage to the German economy is enormous. “Money that we spend on the US doesn’t come back,” Kroell said. While the involvement of the domestic industry is profitable and creates jobs.
Wolfgang Schoder, BDLI board member and head of Airbus Helicopters Germany sees similar risks for Germany. Without a contractual requirement, Boeing will therefore see no urgent need to involve the German industry in the helicopters. The focus is on supplying the US armed forces. Before signing the contract, the federal government must anchor this in order to preserve its own sovereignty.
The purchase of the American fighter jets and helicopters is to be financed from the 100 billion euro special fund for the Bundeswehr. The F-35s are intended to replace the Tornado models, which are considered obsolete, while the heavy-lift helicopters would improve the Bundeswehr’s operational capability. With regard to helicopters, there is still no comparable European model.
Nevertheless, the actions of the federal government are incomprehensible to the BDLI. After all, other European countries that ordered F-35s would have involved their own aviation industry.
Schoder and Kroell suspect that the Federal Ministry of Defense fears that German participation will make procurement even more complex and consequently slow it down. A price increase is also conceivable. According to Kroell, however, such investments would have to be calculated over the entire service life. In the case of heavy-duty helicopters, only 30 percent of the total costs would go to procurement, but 70 percent to maintenance over the next 30 years.