Washington has been very critical of Berlin in the past because the latter did not achieve the NATO defense spending objective, and the shortage of aircraft also indicates Germany’s inability to comply with the training practice required for its pilots.
Currently, the German Air Force is experiencing not only a shortage of aircraft, but also pilots, Deutsche Welle revealed, citing officials from Laage Air Base, near the northern German city, Rostock.
Earlier it was noted that the German Air Force failed to meet a target of 180 hours of flight in 2018, which is the minimum training requirement established by NATO, due to the shortage of available airplanes.
Only 58% of German pilots currently complete the required 180 flight hours per year, 40 of which can be completed in a flight simulator.
However, interviews conducted at Laage Air Base, a showcase training site for the air force that schedules up to 20 practice flights per day, revealed that this branch of the German army is also experiencing a functional shortage of pilots.
“I don’t have enough pilots,” says Jan Gloystein, deputy commander of the Steinhoff squad wing where Eurofighter pilots are trained.
He explains that there are currently only 23 pilots, while 20 more are needed, and notes that the reason for the shortage is that there are simply not enough applicants willing to join the air force.
A recent report by the parliamentary military commissioner of the government, Hans-Peter Bartels, argued that other German Air Force facilities are experiencing similar problems, with only two-thirds of the positions available for combat pilots.
Six pilots reportedly resigned in the first half of 2018 compared to 11 pilots who resigned in the previous 5 years. For some time, personnel shortages could be seen as a result of lack of flight experience due to the shortage of operational aircraft.
Although 70% of the 24 Eurofighter twin-engine aircraft have already been put into operation and are ready for training, according to Lt. Col. Gloystein, the shortage of operational aircraft could be a long-term problem for Germany’s army in the future.
In June 2019, two Eurofighter planes crashed in the northeast of the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, with a pilot killed during the mission carried out from the Laage air base.
Meanwhile, Washington has been criticizing its German ally for failing to meet a 2% NATO goal in defense spending, with US President Donald Trump accusing the EU of “not paying its bills.” for the protection provided by the United States and calling Germany “the biggest offender” of all.
«Germany does not want to pay. They are supposed to pay 2 percent. They are paying 1 percent. And I say: got You have to pay, Angela. You have to pay, Angela. Please pay, Angela, ”Trump said as he recalled his negotiations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Trump also suggested in early August that the US UU. He could relocate his troops from Germany to Poland if the current situation does not change, an idea praised by the US ambassador. UU. In Berlin, Richard Grenell, who claimed that Berlin has abused his good relationship with Washington by not allocating enough money in defense.
“It is really insulting to expect the US taxpayer to pay for more than 50,000 Americans in Germany, but the Germans use their commercial surplus for domestic purposes,” he said in an interview with a German news agency on August 9.
Later, the German Ministry of Finance reported in a parliamentary session that Berlin spent around €243 million on US military personnel. UU. In the last 7 years, but still could not allocate more than 1.3% of its GDP in defense.
Less than 10 states have achieved the voluntary goal of 2% of GDP set by NATO in 2014.