Germany sends Luftwaffe East in pivot to Indo-Pacific

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Germany, long considered the economically powerful but militarily weak man of Europe, is increasing its presence in the Indo-Pacific region through the Luftwaffe or the German Air Force.

A Press release by the Federal Ministry of Defense explained the details of this latest deployment.

The press release explains that the political guidelines for the Indo-Pacific region, which the federal government adopted in September last year, “include a reinforced engagement of the Bundeswehr in the region: Germany intends to ‘extend and intensify security and defense cooperation with our close partners’. .”

This deployment metaphorically follows the German Navy’s deployment of Bayern, a frigate, to the Indo-Pacific region from August 2021 to February 2022.

During the ship’s voyage, he sailed in the “maritime area between the Horn of Africa, Australia and Japan on a mission that encompassed diplomatic and security policy related objectives”. He also “participated in exercises and helped monitor United Nations Security Council sanctions against North Korea.”

But now, “after the deployment of the navy, it is now the Luftwaffe’s turn to be deployed in the region as part of the Rapid Pacific 2022 project”. It details the types of aircraft the Luftwaffe is sending: six Eurofighters, four A-400Ms and three A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transports.

These aircraft “will be deployed to the region via Singapore and will participate in two multinational exercises (Pitch Black 22 and Kakadu 22)”. Finally, after the end of the exercises, there will be “short visits to East Asian partners, Japan and South Korea and, once again, to Singapore”. The Bundeswehr foresees a constant presence of the Bundeswehr in the Indo-Pacific region.

Although a deep pacifist streak runs through German society and politics, the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has given a new dimension to the Bundeswehr, neglected for many years by shrinking defense budgets.

But Berlin’s urgency to rearm, though driven by the Russian invasion, is not limited, at least in the long term, to Europe alone and the looming threat from Russia. Like the United States, Germany is aware of the challenge posed by China since it is an economic powerhouse fueled by the export of goods abroad.

In addition to the economic threat posed by China’s manufacturing prowess, Berlin is also slowly preparing for defence. Six months ago, German Chancellor Olaf Schulz announced that the Bundeswehr would receive a one-time boost of 100 billion euros on top of a growing defense budget, which will soon reach the target of the of 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) expenditure. in defence.

The Bundeswehr press release quotes Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “Europe and the Indo-Pacific are strongly interconnected,” he said. “What happens in the Indo-Pacific has important implications for Europe, and vice versa. The region produces 60% of the world’s GDP and is the EU’s second largest export destination.

Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and defense writer with the National interest. A graduate of UCLA, he also holds a Master of Public Policy and lives in Berlin. It covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society for print and radio. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.

Picture: Reuters.

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