ILA Aviation Fair: Scholz calls for more cooperation on armament projects

ILA Aviation Fair: Scholz calls for more cooperation on armament projects

The Berlin Air Show ILA is also taking a closer look at the new security situation. Trade associations are warning that the German army and armament projects could soon run out of money.

At the start of the International Aerospace Exhibition (ILA), German Chancellor Olaf Scholz assured the defense industry of long-term support in building up its production capacities. “Today we see more clearly than ever how important a European and German defense industry is that can continuously produce all important types of weapons and the necessary ammunition,” said the SPD politician at the exhibition center on the outskirts of the capital’s BER airport.

He announced the order for 20 more Eurofighter fighter aircraft. Specialist associations in German security and defense policy, meanwhile, called for the financing of the Bundeswehr’s further equipment to be secured beyond 2025. The Bundeswehr’s special fund of 100 billion euros is far from sufficient to cover the needs.

Associations demand additional 6.5 billion euros

“The gap between current medium-term financial planning and the funds actually required by the Bundeswehr will open up as early as 2025,” the nine associations warned in a statement. They referred to the demand by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) to provide an additional 6.5 billion euros in the regular defense budget for the coming year. The signatories demanded that the funds be allocated to the Bundeswehr.

German politicians have “given too much berth to the arms industry in the past,” said Scholz at the opening. “That is over. Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which violated international law, has presented all of Germany with a new security reality.” Due to time constraints, some weapons systems are now being procured from partners who already have products available on the market. “We simply cannot wait for some things. But speed is only one important aspect,” said Scholz. “At the same time, I am strongly committed to maintaining and expanding production capacities.” 20 more Eurofighters will be ordered during this legislative period, in addition to the 38 aircraft that are currently in the pipeline.

Scholz: German industry should play “right at the forefront”

Closer cooperation between European partners is necessary. “In Europe, we can simply no longer afford to have a significantly larger number of competing weapons systems than, for example, the USA,” said the Chancellor. There must be fewer systems that reflect the strengths of the respective industries. Scholz said: “Then we will also achieve the necessary interoperability between Europe’s armed forces and higher unit numbers.” He wants German industry to “play at the forefront.”

Industry is responding to the geopolitical challenges of our time with innovations, said President of the German Aerospace Industry Association, Michael Schöllhorn, at the opening of the trade fair. “Civil aviation is presenting advances in sustainability that will also become a competitive advantage.” Military aviation is showing the systems of the future. And space travel is demonstrating “how Europe can guarantee independent access to the use of space.”

Europe’s technological leadership

But Europe’s leading technological position in these areas is contested. “The industry is also under pressure.” In order to survive, the right political framework is needed. “We also need predictability in the defense budget and ultimately also orders, otherwise we will lose the medium-sized companies and suppliers whose capacities and capabilities will be crucial in the future.”

Around 600 exhibitors from 30 countries will be exhibiting at the European aerospace industry’s trade fair from Wednesday to Sunday. The fair is only open to trade visitors until Friday, but anyone else interested can come to the exhibition grounds on Saturday and Sunday. The focus will be on the sustainable transformation of civil aviation as well as defense and security issues.

The trade fair takes place every two years. Since April it has been certain that its venue will remain in Schönefeld near Berlin until at least 2030. The states of Berlin and Brandenburg are contributing 5.5 million euros each to the ILA trade fairs in 2026, 2028 and 2030.

ILA Homepage Information for private visitors

Source: Stern

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