The symposium “Prospects for Defence Industry” of the German Society for Defence Technology (DWT) ended yesterday. During these two days speakers provided well-founded insights into the current material and procurement situation of Bundeswehr.
“The problem of ammunition is most urgent,” said Hubert Blahnik, Deputy Head of Equipment Department, German Ministry of Defence. At the same time, he said, this example also shows that arms industry is lying waste not only in Germany after decades of cost-cutting.
“The production capacities we have in Europe are smaller than what Ukraine is firing,” Blahnik describes. However, he says, production cannot simply be scaled up, as supply chains are attached to every single element. “In Europe, we only have one company that produces the corresponding explosives,” Blahnik named one example. “But this is a European problem, not a German one.”
The companies involved would need reliability of financial lines in order to invest and increase their production capacity, which also takes a certain amount of time – months to years. Nop one would or could invest just because of money promised in a one-time special package. It would require continuous coverage in future budgets, which in turn would require an increase of German defence budget.
In the past, ammunition had often been left behind procurement of weapons systems and thus a candidate for cancellation. There has also been fierce competition between interests in the special fund Chancellor Olaf Scholz proclaimed last year, the “Bundeswehr-Sondervermögen”, he said. “I would rather take ammunition than another available platform,” Blahnik stressed. “Eurofighters also need armament. After all, they are not supposed to just fly holes in the air.”
Dorothee Frank, Head of editorial team