German Air Force
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In a process begun in the mid-1990s now speeded up by the current government , the Luftwaffe ( German Air Force) is currently adopting its equipment-requirements to reflect current and future needs. The Luftwaffe had to adjust its missions to take account of the possibility of involvement in conflict beyond the borders of Europe. The Luftwaffe aims for the capacity to participate in multi-national joint crisis management operations covering the whole spectrum, from humanitarian aid to collective defence. Priority has been given to the purchase of 180 Eurofighters, representing the largest slice of the German MoD's procurement budget. The introduction of the Eurofighter into the Air Force is due to start in the fourth quarter of 2003. The German Eurofighter programme was given a boost with the first flight of the first German series production Eurofighter (IPA 3 Instrumented Production Aircraft) at the EADS facility this year. The first unit to receive the Eurofighter will be Jagdgeschwader 73 at Laage , currently equipped with F-4F Phantoms and Mig-29s. The Phantoms and Mig-29s will be replaced with the Eurofighter over time. The Mig-29s will be handed over to Poland in 2003, and the Phantoms will be be slowly phased out which began in 2002.
In the Future there will be five Eurofighter wings ( each equipped with 36 aircraft ) which will be accompanied by 125 Tornados ( down from 267 today ). In contrast to UK and France, the German DOD has so far not discussed a new strike aircraft to replace it's Tornados. Funding for this project might be hard to find after the costly purchase of the Eurofighter. There have been strong suggestions that in the long term (beyond 2020) the Eurofighter will be the air force's single combat aircraft platform. Most of the 275 have gone through an initial upgrade and are now in the process of going through a Mid-Life Improvement (MLI) programme and a New Avionics Structure.
During Allied Force, shortcomings became evident especially in relation to Germany's need for a large transport aircraft. In response to this Germany placed on order for 73 A400M Transport aircraft , these will replace the ageing C.160D Transalls. The German government suggests buying only 40 aircraft, a number that could be financed by the £3 Billion already reserved for the A400M. The report goes on to say that 75 aircraft are unnecessary, because they would represent four times the current Luftwaffe airlift capacity.   
In addition, the German Air Force operates seven Airbus A-310 MRT ( Multi-Role-Transports ), of which four are to be converted to MRTTs (Multi-Role-Tanker-Transports). Also joining the fleet are 66 NH-90 TTHs which will replace the UH-1D Heuy, 24 of the NH-90s will be converted to the CSAR role. Over the next few years, the service will scale down from 437 combat aircraft 302, and from 73 SAM squadrons to 46. Two are Luftwaffe bases will also be shut down, these are part of comprehensive reorganization of the German Armed Forces. 

Luftwaffe Aircraft :

Fighter/Attack Aircraft :


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The four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon is a foreplane delta-wing, beyond-visual-range, close air fighter aircraft with surface attack capability. Eurofighter has 'supercruise' capability: it can fly at sustained speeds of over Mach 1 without the use of afterburner. The EJ200 engine has been developed by Eurojet GmbH. An overall production contract for 620 aircraft was signed in January 1998, with 232 for the UK, 180 for Germany, 121 for Italy and 87 for Spain. The first of these aircraft are planned to enter service with the four participating nations by the end of 2002. Final deliveries are scheduled for 2015.

The direct voice input allows the pilot to carry out mode selection and data entry procedures using voice command.The cockpit has three multifunction, colour, head-down displays (MHDDs), which show the tactical situation, systems status and map displays. The aircraft is equipped with a CAPTOR (ECR 90) multi-mode X-band pulse Doppler radar, developed by the Euroradar consortium. A Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) is mounted on the port side of the fuselage, forward of the windscreen. When used with the radar in the air-to-air role, it functions as an Infrared Search and Track system (IRST), providing passive target detection and tracking. In the air-to-surface role, the FLIR performs target acquisition and identification, as well as providing a night flying aid.

As well as an internally mounted 27mm Mauser gun, the EurofighterTyphoon has 13 hard points for weapon carriage. For air-to-air combat, the standard weapon configuration is four beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) on semi-recessed fuselage stations, and two ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missiles on the outer pylons. A mix of up to ten medium- and short-range missiles can be carried. German and Italian Eurofighters will carry the imaging infrared IRIS-T air-to-air missile  . Eurofighter can carry a range of air-to-surface weapons. The Eurofighter is equipped with two Eurojet EJ200 engines, each delivering thrust of 90kN in full reheat and 60kN in dry power mode. The first German series production Eurofighter (IPA 3 Instrumented Production Aircraft) took off for a successful Maiden Flight at 03/04/2002 EADS Military Aircraft’s Manching plant and touched the ground again safely.

-Tornado IDS / ECR / RECCE 

    Tornado IDS

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    Tornado ECR

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   Tornado RECCE

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In all the Luftwaffe received 276 Tornados , which can be devided into three different versions. The Tornado IDS version (Interdiction-Strike) which is the main type in service, ECR version ( Electronic Combat & Reconnaissance ) of which some 25 aircraft were delivered and the RECCE version (Reconnaissance).

Most of the approximately 275 Tornados have, in any case, undergone the first stages of an upgrade due to be completed in 2003-2005. As a follow on to a mid 1980s upgrade which was an  important step to adopt the aircraft to changing requirements was the German "Tornado First Upgrade" for the fighter-bomber aircraft I DS (Interdiction-Strike). This program of the late 80s led primarily to enhanced electronic warfare (EW) capabilities which included FADEC, AGM-88s and a Mil-1553B databus. Based upon the IDS upgrade, Dasa ( Now EADS ) developed the Tornado ECR for Electronic Combat and Reconnaissance which is operational with the German Air Force (GAF). Today the Tornado ECR is the most advanced and capable tactical fighter for (SEAD) Suppression of Enemy Air Defences and C3I roles. 

After that the Luftwaffe initiated a further upgrade for most of it's Tornado IDS fleet ( Similiar to the British Tornado GR.4 mid-life update ). The main element of the upgrade is known as the "Neue Avionikstruktur" (New Avionics Structure) and is already under fleet wide implementation . It consists of upgraded main computer, and conversion of software from Spirit 3 to the ADA computer language to enhance the Tornados computing capacity. The New Avionics Structure is the basis for integrating new weapons ( Taurus Stand-off missile )and sensors in the German Tornados.

Another major element is a Mid-Life Improvement (MLI) programme, comprising of 2 packages, the Kampfwertanpassung ( KMW , Combat Effeciency  Enhancement ) and the Kampfwerterhaltung ( KWE, Combat Effiency Upgrade). Their main operational task is to improve weapon systems performance and accuracy while enhancing the aircraft's ability to operate in multi-national force. These two elements should be incorporated in every Tornado airframe by 2005. 

-F-4F Phantom II ICE 

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During the years 1973-1975, the German Luftwaffe received a total of 175 twin-seater Phantom II aircraft, which are in service as fighter aircraft and fighter bombers. Between 2002 and 2012, the present aircraft will be successively replaced by Eurofighters. The severe programme delays with the Eurofighter forced the German Airforce  to execute an operational life extension programme for a large portion of the Phantom fleet. The programme was called ICE (Improved Combat Effectiveness), it involved 110 Phantoms and was conducted by DASA ( Now EADS). The modification included the APG-65 radar, the ability to fire the AIM-120 AMRAAM and a new navigation suite that includes GPS The 37 operational Phantoms not part of the upgrade received only a new navigation suite.

In service since 1973, the Phantom equips a total of 6 squadrons, which include a Air Force test centrum and a German Training Centre in Holloman AFB USA. With the ICE upgrade, the F-4F Phantom will remain in the Luftwaffe until at least 2005 when they will be replaced by the Eurofighter.


-MIG-29 G/GT Fulcrum 


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The Bundeswehr inherited 20 single-seater and 4 twin-seater MiG-29 aircraft from the former East German forces. After these Fulcrum aircraft had been upgraded to western standards, they received the designations MiG-29G (for Germany) and MiG-29GT (Germany/Trainer). The ' Fulcrum ' squadron based at Laage Air Base is amongst the busiest units in NATO , being officialy NATO assigned and responible for the air-defence of Eastern Germany. It also provides realistic adversary training for NATO pilots in air-air combat exercises. 

The Luftwaffe Fulcrums have been upgraded to NATO standards, with modification including of a identification and navigation system as well as engine adjustments to increase life expectancy. Six to Eight Fulcrums have also received a GPS system, and provision for two 1150-litre underwing fuel tanks increasing their range to 3000 km. The German Defence Department recently announced that the 23 Mig-29s currently operated by the German Air Force would be handed over to the Polish Air Force during the first half of 2003.


- Transall C.160D


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The Luftwaffe operates a fleet of around 70 C-160.Ds. The Transall is rapidly reaching the end of it's life after 30 years of operation , these systems are currently undergoing a self-protection system upgrade at Manchning. Which includes a BAE SYSTEMS High Integration Air Data Computer (HIADC), Litton ALR-68 radar warning systems and Rockwell FMS-800 Flight Management and Global Positioning System. The three wings of C.160D Transport aircraft will be consolidated into two from 2008. The German Government will order up to 73 more capable Airbus A400M aircraft when the government approve the order. Twenty-four C.160Ds were modified for special operations.  

The C-160 Transall aircraft are twin turboprop transporters in service with the air forces of France, Germany and Turkey. The aircraft is a cantilever high-wing monoplane and is configured for transportation, paratroop drop, electronic surveillance, airborne communications relay and medical evacuation. The main cabin can be fitted to carry 93 troops or up to 68 fully equipped paratroops. For medical evacuation, the cabin can accommodate 62 stretcher patients.

- A400 Future Large Aircraft?

refuelling800.jpg (110250 bytes) The A400M (formerly known as the Future Large Aircraft) is a military transporter designed to meet the requirements of the air forces of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Italy subsequently withdrew from the programme. In December 2001, a formal contract of procurement was signed between Airbus and OCCAR, the European procurements agency for 196 aircraft: Belgium 7, France 50, Germany 73, Luxembourg 1, Portugal 3, Spain 27, Turkey 10 and the UK 25 aircraft. The first aircraft is scheduled to fly in 2006 with entry into service in 2008.

The TP400 engine from the new Turboprop International (TPI) group, be chosen as the A400M powerplant. Germany's decision last November to allocate DM10 billion ($4.4 billion) of funding towards its A400M requirement was crucial to continuation of the A400M program, for which the Luftwaffe is initially the largest customer. Some concern has been expressed, however, at the current shortfall from the DM16.8 billion, which is Germany's full estimated A400M requirement cost. The latter total indicates German estimates of about $104 million for an A400M program unit cost, presumably including spares and technical support.

- A-310 MRT/T

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The Airbus A310 MRT for the German Air Force is a joint project of EADS and Lufthansa Technik. The MRT - Multi Role Transport - can fulfil a wide range of different transport tasks with just one aircraft type. The concept is based on conversions of Airbus A310-300 commercial aircraft, which are already in worldwide operation. Standardized kits - including all systems for transport tasks - are used for the conversion in accordance with customer requirements.

The Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) concept provides for the use of the twin-jet A310 as a multi-purpose military transport and tanker. It is planned to enhance the MRT into a Multi Role Tanker Transport for the German Air Force through the installation of a tanker kit. The Luftwaffe has seven A310-304s, of which two are configured for VIP transport and one for passenger transport. The other four are multirole transports (MRT). It is the latter four which will be modified into MRTT's,  with the first aircraft scheduled for re-delivery in November 2002. For the air-to-air refuelling (tanker) role, the aircraft is equipped with five centre fuel tanks or Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs), and with hose and drogue pods under the outer wings. The total fuel capacity is up to 96,920 litres (25,605 US gallons), which corresponds to 77,500kg (171,000lb).


- UH-1D Huey 

gerairuh1.jpg (159869 bytes) The Luftwaffe  operates a fleet of 114 hueys. Fifteen are at facilities like technical schools and will never fly again ; the 99 airworthy examples have all undergone a service life extension programme that includes new composite rotor blades. Dornier is responsible for further upgrades to another 24 examples called the flugfahigkeit/Flugsicherheitmassname (NTS/FSM), which give the Huey a night-vision capability  for night operations. Also included is a new airframe, better avionics, new VOR/ILS , HF Radio and GPS.

As well as operating alongside the C.160Ds units, the UH-1D serves in SAR and VIP roles. The Huey is scheduled to be replaced by the NH-90 around 2008.

- NH-90 TTH

nh90ger90.jpg (41292 bytes) The German Air Force is set to receive around 66 NH-90 TTH, The TTH version is primarily conceived for tactical transport of personnel (14-20 troops) and material (more than 2500 kg of cargo), heliborne operations and SAR.
Additional applications include medevac, special operations, electronic warfare, airborne command post, parachuting, VIP transport, flight training.

The NH-90 is expected to replace the Huey around 2008, the Huey will be phased by 66 NH-90s concentrated in a single location. With the arrival of these, the air force will take on a new role : combat search and rescue ( CSAR ). The service is acquiring eight CSAR kits and 24 of its NH-90s will be fitted with this new equipment. The kits involve full night capability, in-flight refueling, installation of air-air and air-to-surface weapons, and an electrical warfare suite. This embryonic CSAR capability will be resident within the NH-90 wing at Holzdorf, and the Luftwaffe is hoping that Holzdorf will become the European CSAR  centre. 

Air-Defence :

- Patriot 2 / PAC 3 

pat-2.jpg (70708 bytes) PATRIOT serves the air threat within the middle and large elevator area for the defense. The improvement of the ability for the defense tactical ballistic missile is initiated at present by re-tooling measures with the ground support equipment as well as by introduction new " hit to kill" missiles of a PAC 3. The target acquisition and target illumination for the missile take place with a radar device with electronic laserbeems . Several air targets can be fought at the same time.

The Luftwaffe is due to acquire 200 examples of the Patriot Advanced Capacity 3 (PAC-3 - it currently only operates the PAC-2 version) and 13 Launching stations modification kits. A 100% offset deal has been negotiated as one of the deal's features. 

Sources :

German Airforce Homepage
Airforce Technology
Eurofighter Homepage

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