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Five 25-million-euro bills have passed the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag this week after the Defense Committee has given its expert opinion. This means that contracts with the industry worth almost one billion euros can be concluded in the next few days to improve the equipment of the Bundeswehr.

At the halfway point of the parliamentary year 2020, a quarter of the major projects planned for 2020 have just been submitted to Parliament. In particular for numerous projects that are important for taking over the leadership of the NATO spearhead (VJTF) in 2023, the release of the budget is still missing. In order to be able to realize these projects in time, time is running out. Now projects are to be added that are to be financed with funds from the economic stimulus package until 2021.

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Photo: Lockheed Martin

1,818 GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) guided missiles with a unitary warhead are procured, which are fired by the Mars II rocket launcher. You can hit point and area targets up to 80 kilometers away with pinpoint accuracy and in any weather condition. The warhead penetrates the target and then explodes. The guided missiles are intended to complement the inventory of GMLRS Unitary, which has been built up since 2017. Just a year ago, the German armed forces ordered 900 of these guided missiles to be delivered by 2022. The further order, which has now become possible, is expected to arrive in the course of 2023. There are 278 million euros available for this.

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Photo: Raytheon

For the ground-based air defense system Patriot, 170 PAC-2 rockets (Patriot Advanced Capability) are converted to the standard GEM-T (Guided Enhanced Missile). With the improved digital proximity detonator and radar finder, targets with smaller radar cross-sections such as stealth planes or cruise missiles can be fought. The proximity fuse is optimized for the fight against ballistic missiles. The aim is to adapt the patriot ammunition stock to the requirements for the VJTF. For this, 213 million euros have been made available.

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Photo: Bundeswehr

Retrofitting a camera monitor system that supports drivers in operating the Boxer armored transport vehicle will cost 69 million euros. The environment on the sides can only be insufficiently monitored with the available visual aids. With the support of the driver with the new system, the risk to other road users, especially in public road traffic, is reduced.

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Photo: Bundeswehr

In 2016, the replacement of the more than forty-year-old Biber bridge armor on a Leopard 1 chassis was initiated with the order for seven armored iguana bridge laying systems. Now 330 million euros have been made available for the procurement of a second batch of 24 iguana bridge layers, including IT components, navigation systems, training equipment and spare parts. Based on the Leopard 2 chassis, iguanas can overcome obstacles, ditches and bodies of water up to a width of 24 meters from vehicles up to military load class 80 (e.g. Leopard 2 A7V main battle tank). The iguana itself carries up to two bridge elements. Further bridge elements are tracked with a tractor-trailer with a protected cabin.

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Photo: German Air Force

Für das Aufklärungssystem PEGASUS (Persistent German Airborne Surveillance System) werden drei Flugzeuge Global 6000 beschafft. In diese Flugzeuge soll bis 2025 das Integrierte Sigint Aufklärungssystem (ISIS) eingerüstet und so die Fähigkeit zur signalerfassenden luftgestützten, weiträumigen Überwachung und Aufklärung (SLWÜA) bereitstellen. Dies ist nach der Euro Hawk und Triton der dritte Ansatz zur Realisierung dieser Fähigkeit, diesmal unter Verzicht auf einen unbemannten Träger. Da die Luftwaffe Global 6000 bereits als Flugzeuge für VIP-Transport einsetzt, werden Synergieeffekte bei Wartung, Ausbildung und Ersatzteilbeschaffung erwartet. Für die drei Flugzeuge sollen 75 Millionen Euro eingesetzt werden.

The summer break has now started in Parliament. The next week of the meeting begins on September 7, 2020. Until then, the contracts for the above-mentioned projects will be closed. Will the Ministry of Defense be able to catch up on the big projects? In September, attention will be drawn to the federal budget for 2021, the draft of which the federal government will only adopt in a corona-related manner in mid-September 2020 and then forward to the Bundestag for advice and decision-making. Then the financing of the Bundeswehr's procurement projects from the highly loan-financed 2020 budget will be in competition with the new tasks to be tackled next year. Who will prevail?

Gerhard Heiming