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Lower Saxony and Bremen: Luftwaffe to install all A400M aircraft in Wunstorf

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Lower Saxony and Bremen
The Luftwaffe will install all A400M aircraft in Wunstorf

A few years ago, the Air Force announced that it would create a second location in southern Germany for the new A400M transport aircraft. Now the project has been buried. The air base in Wunstorf, near Hanover, will remain the only location.

Wunstorf/Graben (dpa/lni) – The federal government wants to continue to park all Luftwaffe A400M transport planes in Wunstorf near Hannover. Plans to station ten such aircraft at the Lechfeld airbase in Swabia are not followed through. As a Defense Ministry spokesman announced in Berlin on Monday, the airfield south of Augsburg will not become Germany’s second base for transport aircraft in the next few years.

According to the Ministry of Defense, the background for the adjusted plans is the feedback from international partners, the conditions of the structural framework and the growing experience in the operation of the A400M. “As a result, the German A400M can be operated with greater resource efficiency by concentrating on the Wunstorf site,” a ministry spokesman said.

Swabian CSU member in the Bundestag Hansjörg Durz criticized this as a “seriously wrong decision”. He referred to a military threat from Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine, which had not been taken into account in the decision. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) made the decision against the air base in Bavaria on February 11, and thus before Russia attacked Ukraine. “However, the decision no longer fits the times at all,” said Durz, who comes from the affected district of Augsburg.

The Lechfeld was used by a fighter-bomber squadron until 2013. Since the tornadoes left, the air base has been a NATO alternate airfield. It was originally planned to invest more than €170 million in the site for A400M machines by 2028 and create 600 new positions.

But the original idea of ​​creating a multinational air transport group near Augsburg together with other countries had failed. Although it had been announced since 2017, there was no significant involvement from other nations, according to a Defense Ministry letter to Durz. Building a second A400M location would have cost some €78 million more than concentrating all machines at Wunstorf.

The Bundeswehr has ordered a total of 53 of the new transport aircraft, due for delivery in 2026. The A400M fleet replaces the Transall aircraft that were retired at the end of 2021. The Air Force currently has 35 A400Ms.

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