by Marco Malaguti

More than two months after the war in Ukraine broke out, with peace now looking like an increasingly distant mirage, Berlin must begin to lay the groundwork for its ambitious rearmament program, namely reaching the threshold of that 2 percent of GDP long demanded by NATO and former U.S. President Donald Trump.

After a thousand hesitations, Scholz finally capitulated, allocating as annual budget for the defense of the Federal Republic as much as one hundred billion euros. This is a considerable figure that will place Germany as the third largest defense fund allocator in the world, behind the United States (801 billion dollars) and China (293 billion), and ahead of India (76.6 billion), Great Britain (68.4 billion), Russia (65.9 billion), France (56.6 billion) and Japan (54.1 billion).

But if this is the budget, what will be the shopping list of German generals and admirals? Nothing is certain yet, but something has already leaked out. The Düsseldorf newspaper "Handelsblatt", informal voice of German industry, has taken care of this.

An anti-missile umbrella

The first items on the list are a new missile shield for the Federal Republic of Germany. For this purpose, contacts have already been made with Israel for the acquisition of the Iron Dome anti-missile shield with "Arrow 3" missile equipment.

The Israeli-American technology of Arrow 3 would allow Germany, according to the developers, to set up a good umbrella of protection over the country's airspace, with the theoretical possibility to knock out hostile vectors very quickly. Arrow 3, in particular, can destroy in flight ballistic missiles (armed both conventionally and with nuclear warheads) in just thirty seconds from launch, reaching up to one hundred thousand meters of altitude in the atmosphere.

Based, like the Jewish State's Iron Dome, predominantly on land, the Arrow 3 missiles will, however, be able to be embarked by the Deutsche Marine, providing Germany (and its armed forces) with more flexible protection against missile attacks, particularly those from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and the Russian Baltic Fleet, currently the most direct threat to Germany's armed forces.

Protect the Baltic

In view of this threat, the German navy will also increase its numbers. In addition to two new submarines of the U212 type, five new domestically produced corvettes of the "Braunschweig" class will be added to the five currently in service (since 2013) and five more currently under construction in the shipyards of Hamburg, Bremen and Kiel, bringing the total to fifteen.

Ninety meters long and with a displacement of 1840 tons, the new German corvettes represent the flagship of Berlin's small navy. The missile armament of the new boats is constituted by four batteries of Swedish RBS-15 Saab-Bofors anti-ship missiles that, if necessary, can also engage targets along the coast, hitting targets up to two hundred kilometers away from the place of launch, to which would be added two more batteries of German-American RIM-116 anti-ship missiles, short-range systems with a maximum range of about nine kilometers.

The new naval rearmament program, thus conceived, would significantly increase NATO's ability to inflict losses on the Russian Baltic fleet, especially if the fleets of currently neutral countries such as Finland and well-armed Sweden were added.

Luftwaffe shopping in the USA

The Air Force, for its part, would not stand idly by, and would prepare to welcome an additional fifty fighter jets, most likely all US-made Lockheed Martin F35s. To these should be added at least sixty new heavy Boeing-Leonardo CH-47 Chinook helicopters, to be delivered by emergency procedure to Berlin by 2025.

Educational challenges, between Italy and the U.S.
An army to be rebuilt

As far as the land component of the Bundeswehr is concerned, there are still many unresolved issues. What is already certain, however, is that at least 350 new "Puma" infantry fighting vehicles are on their way, produced by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Munich (not to be confused with the Italian armored personnel carriers of the same name, produced by Iveco-Fiat).

The Puma, a light armored vehicle of national production, will replace the decrepit Marder IFV, in service since the late sixties, which will instead be turned over to the Kiev army as a "contribution" to the resistance against Vladimir Putin's invasion.

Maximum reserve instead on the heavy tanks, of which nothing is known yet; but it is certain that, if Germany wants to become more protected against the Russian-Belarusian block, efforts and sacrifices will have to be made in this sector as well. The tank fleet in Berlin is in fact, besides being old, absolutely insufficient.

According to the latest data, Germany would have about 255 tanks in service (mainly Leopard 2, domestically produced), but only a small fraction would actually be combat capable. At the end of 2017, only 95 Leopards out of 244 were usable, and the situation does not seem to have improved since then. Against this, a comparison must also be made with the forces of other countries on the eve of the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine: the Russian Federation had 12,420 tanks, Turkey 3022, Ukraine 2596, Greece 1243, Poland 863, Belarus 601, and France 406. It is clear that the Bundeswehr is heavily lacking in the armored component of its forces, a serious deficiency for a country that, like Germany, in case of aggression would find itself facing the enemy mainly on land.

Will 100 billion be enough?

A situation, that of the German heavy tanks, which also applies in other fields, starting with the helicopters, of which only half could be operational at the moment, to continue with the eight u212 submarines (none capable of taking to the sea at the end of 2018) and the ammunition, sufficient, in case of war, only for a few days.

In the face of all this spending, the 100 billion allocated by Scholz and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht may even be insufficient: the German armed forces, more than an increase in funding, seem to need a real re-founding, a definitive sign that the welfare of the citizens of the Federal Republic will no longer be free.

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Research fellow at the Machiavelli Center. A philosophy scholar, he has been working for years on the topic of the revaluation of nihilism and the great German Romantic philosophy.