November 13, 2011

Leaks Germany

Leopard 2a6 Main Battle Tank
Germany is planning extensive cuts to some of its largest defense programs, according to a leaked letter signed by Defense Secretary Thomas de Maiziere.

The letter to the parliament's defense committee, obtained by Reuters news agency, stated that Typhoon combat aircraft, Tiger attack helicopters, NH90 transport helicopters, Puma armored vehicles and Euro Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft are among 20 large programs being considered for cuts.

NH 90 Transport Helicopter
Eurofighter Typhoon
On the air side, Reuters reported that Typhoon numbers would be reduced by 37 to 140. The Tiger order would be halved to 40, and 80 NH90s would be purchased instead of the planned 122. Euro Hawk, a development of Northrop Grumman's Global Hawk ordered by Germany for signals intelligence work, could see numbers reduced from six to four.

Eurofighter partners Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain have been looking to end Typhoon deliveries to their own air forces with completion of the Tranche 3A order signed in 2009.

Puma IFV
Armored vehicle casualties could include a cut in the order for the new Puma infantry fighting vehicle from 410 to 350. according to the letter. The number of Leopard II main battle tanks operated by the Army could be reduced from 350 to 225.

The German Defense Ministry wants to redirect cash saved into new defense programs.

The defense minister is meeting with defense industry representatives today to discuss a way forward, according to Reuters.

News of the potential cuts, which emerged Oct. 18 when Reuters published the letter's contents, came on the same day de Maiziere announced he was setting aside more than 1 billion euros ($1.37 billion) to fund the costs of planned reductions in military and civilian personnel numbers over the next few years.

Some of the money will also go toward more attractive terms and conditions to recruit specialists, as well as better pay and conditions for the remaining military and civilian personnel.

The current 206,000-strong German military is set to be reduced to 170,000 personnel by 2017. The number of civilian personnel is set to drop from 68,000 to 55,000. This is to be achieved via tax-free payoffs of up to 100,000 euros per person. Career soldiers over the age of 50 will be offered an early retirement with full pension.

To finance these measures - part of a wider Defense Ministry reform effort - the ministry plans to spend an additional 200 million euros in 2012, 250 million euros in 2013 and 300 million euros in both 2014 and 2015.
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