Germany’s Armed Forces do not possess the military aircraft requested by Kiev, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said
Germany can hardly meet Kiev’s requests for fighter jets since its Armed Forces do not possess the relevant aircraft types, its defense minister Boris Pistorius told journalists on Monday.
When asked about potential aircraft deliveries to Ukraine, Pistorius said that, so far, the discussions about potential fighter jet deliveries have only covered the “fighter jet types that the Bundeswehr does not possess.”
“That is a question for other nations rather than Germany,” the minister said. He did not rule out potential aircraft deliveries, though. “The military actions in Ukraine is something where one can never absolutely rule out anything,” he said, adding, though, that this idea hardly applies to German military aircraft right now.
The German Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, currently mostly relies on Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets. Its Air Force, the Luftwaffe, has over 140 such aircraft, according to a 2021 report by Airbus. Produced since the early 1990s, these fourth-generation jet fighters are produced jointly by the UK’s BAE Systems, Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo. Apart from Typhoons, the German Air Force also has almost 90 older Panavia Tornado jets developed back in the 1970s.
In January, Pistorius outright ruled out the idea of Germany sending fighter jets to Ukraine, saying it was “out of the question.” He also called such a move too risky, saying that it would “venture into dimensions that I would currently warn against.”
Ukraine repeatedly called on its Western backers to supply it with heavier weapons like tanks and warplanes amid the ongoing military conflict with Russia. Kiev was mostly focused, however, on US-made F-16 jets.
Ukrainian officials recently expressed their optimism about overcoming Western reluctance to donate fighter jets. Last week, Financial Times reported that the US might still consider sending F-16 fighter jets to Kiev, or greenlighting their re-export from other nations that have them.
On Monday, Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper also reported that Rome might consider sending five warplanes to Kiev. The deal could involve old AMX Ghibli fighter-bombers that the Italian Air Force plans to retire by the end of the year, the paper said, adding that Italy would only agree to send the jets to Ukraine if other nations provide it with Western-made military aircraft first.
The UK, which otherwise spearheaded the Western-made tank delivery campaign for Ukraine, has so far ruled out sending jets to Kiev. Earlier in February, Secretary of Defence Ben Wallace told Sky News that the UK would not send warplanes to Kiev anytime soon.