The German Luftwaffe is struggling to keep ground readiness of its Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet fleet. Only four of 128 fighters are combat ready.
A majority of the Luftwaffe’s 128 fighter planes are closed for operations. The technicians are concerned about faulty self-protection systems and their cooling systems, Der Spiegel reported Wednesday.
According to the news daily, all "Eurofighters" on the wings have a sensor that detects enemy jets or attacks and warns the pilot. About half a year ago, it was discovered that the pod is no longer properly cooled. Since it is central to the self-protection system, this must be active in all operational flights, the number of operational jets drops.
There are other technical problems relating to the wing-pods. Although the defective pods on the wings could be replaced, the technicians needed a specific spare part to seal the cooling circuit, which is currently unavailable as the manufacturer is no longer operational.
Even before the discovery of the new problems, the "Eurofighter" was considered a problem child of the Luftwaffe. In an official overview for the Bundestag , only 39 of the 128 jets were listed as ready for use last year. This report, known in the jargon as clarification, was one of the grimmest reports of the many weapons systems and caused negative headlines. But at least it seemed as if the problems were no longer concealed.
The problem with the self-defense system is currently only one of the concerns of the military. Because the Luftwaffe has only two handful of air combat missiles for the "Eurofighter" fleet, according to SPIEGEL information, only four jets are ready for real combat missions. Since you cannot buy the weapons quickly, the Nato requirements are not met even with a lead.