German Air Arms
The current status of the Federal Republic Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) was influenced by two major historic events; WW II and the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. The Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) was constituted May 23rd 1949. Later Germany was allowed an army with a personnel strength of 500.000. On 9 may 1955 the Federal Republic became a NATO-member.

The 'new' Luftwaffe was founded on September 24, 1956. The other air arms (Heeresflieger and Marineflieger) followed in 1957. The first aircraft to arrive were Republic F-84Fs and RF-84Fs, Harvards, Dakota's and Piper Cubs. Later followed by Canadair Sabres and locally built Do27s. The sixties were dominated by many of the 916 F-104 Starfighters the Germans used and the Fiat G91s. Both types have been replaced by the F-4 (1970s) and the Tornado (1980s). Currently the EF 2000 is being delivered to TLG73 (Laage), TLG74 (Neuburg) and TLG31 (Nörvenich). 143 Eurofighters are in service with TLG71, TLG73, TLG74 and TLG31. The EF 2000 replaced all F-4Fs and the major share of the Tornados. The Tornado will stay in service, al least for the time being with TLG51 and TLG33 but will be replaced by the F-35 in the near future. Till 2021 transport needs were filled by the Transall and since then taken over by the  the Airbus A400M (all with LTG62 at Wunstorf). After using the A400M in an operational environment, the Luftwaffe concluded the the A400M was not the best a/c for tactical missions. Therefore the Luftwaffe bought a couple of (K)C-130-J-30s for these type of missions. Another reorganisation saw the transfer of all CH-53s from the army to the air force. The air force, in return, had to hand in all their NH90s. Next to the CH53G, also 15 H145M LUH SOF helicopters are in service with HSG64.

The army started with Bell 47s, H-21s, Choctaws and Sycamores. The Do27 also played a major role in the army. Gradually these a/c were replaced by Alouette IIs and UH-1Ds. Nowadays 80 NH90 and 40 Tigers and a few EC135s are on strenght with the Heeresflieger. However, the German Army is not happy with the Tiger UHT helicopters due to their low availability of airframes due to maintenance issues. This helicopter will now soldier on till 2038 and will be replaced by H145M helicopters.

The navy used the SeaHawk and several types of helicopters in the very beginning. During the sixties the Starfighter was also introduced into this air arm and continued flying until the mid-eighties. The Starfighter was replaced by the Tornado and two Marinefliegergeschwader (1 and 2) flew the Tornado. Both units have been disbanded and fighter operations within the navy stopped during 2005. Today the Orion (replacing the Atlantic, that replaced the HU-16 Albatross) and Do228 form the fixed wing part of the Marineflieger. The Sea King and Sea Lynx helicopters are currently used for SAR- and ASW-operations. All assets are concentrated on Nordholz. Recently, the first NH-90 Sea Lion was handed over to the German Navy. Eventually the Navy will recieve 18 NH-90 Sea Lions to replace the Sea King.

In the beginning, a code system was used indicating the wing and squadron the aircraft belonged to, but new serials (20+01 etc.) were allocated by the release of 'Herausgabe der algemeinen Versorgungsweisung' Nr M5, dated november 13, 1967.

In autumn 1949 the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik) was formed. The reunification of East and West Germany on 3 October 1990 meant that the GDR ceased to exist. Of the hundreds of a/c from the Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) only the MiG-29s and some of the transport a/c and helicopters were incorporated into the Luftwaffe.

The German Air Force Wings are divided into 2 or 3 squadrons (Staffeln) but, contrary to many other air forces, these squadrons only include the aircrew (and a very low number of non-flying servicemen). The aircraft however belong to the Wing itself and therefore the squadrons are not included in the order of battle. The same goes for the army-units, where the helicopters are not spread over the separate squadrons.

Send Updates

Do you have updates? Or is something not listed correctly? Please let us know! You can help us and other spotters with your information.
Invalid Input
Invalid Input


Invalid Input
Invalid Input

Subscribe to Scramble

As a member you get access to all our
premium content and benefits learn more