German media reported on 16 November that only 95 of the 244 Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) in service with the Bundeswehr are operationally ready. A further 53 vehicles – thought to be Leopard 2A6Ms – are being converted to the new Leopard 2A6M+ standard, and 86 are in a state of disrepair without any spare parts. The German report states that “the unavailability of the required replacement parts would be detrimental”.
Wolfgang Hellmich, chairman of the Bundestag’s defence committee, is quoted as describing the revelations as “incredible”, asking “who bears responsibility for this disaster”. He goes on to ask: “How should troops train, be ready to deploy, when one third of the fleet already fails during use, i.e., training and deployment, and cannot be repaired?”
This is not the first report of readiness issues among the German armed forces. In August, German forces deployed to Mali suffered from equipment shortages and a lack of spare parts. The issues were complicated by the heat and dust of the country, which damaged the helicopter fleet and resulted in the crash of a Tiger helicopter and restricted flying thereafter.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihs.com/contact