With a history that seemingly speaks for itself, German engineering is often considered the apex for mechanical performance. However, the same country considered to be the birthplace of Industry 4.0 is currently housing a military struggling to keep jets in the air and rifles firing.
Recently, Germany was forced to ground nearly half of its fleet of Tornado reconnaissance jets because of loose screws on a monitor in the cockpit. A spokesperson was quoted as saying the army wasn’t sure how long it would take to fix the defect.
Screwdriver challenges aside, this was the second setback for the aircraft. Earlier, a number of Tornado jets couldn't fly at night because of a problem with the cockpit lights.
So, loose screws and faulty wiring are actually limiting the defense initiatives of an engineering powerhouse – but it doesn’t end there.
Apparently, the German infantry’s primary assault rifle, the G36, is being phased out because it had trouble firing straight shots in high temperatures, which might be a problem when most of your fighting is now taking place in the desert.
However, the reality of the situation is probably not related to engineering prowess, but the allocation of resources.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States will lead global defense spending with $596 billion in 2016. This represents 3.3 percent of our GDP, which is also the largest in the world.
Germany is projected to spend $39.4B or about 1.4 percent of their GDP on defense. Germany owns the fourth largest GDP, but is ninth in global defense spending – lower than France.
In case you were wondering, when it comes to the U.S. Presidential candidates, it’s probably not a surprise to hear that Donald Trump advocates significant bumps in defense spending, while Hillary Clinton feels the subject needs greater debate.