Bonn — Annual sales in Germany’s military aviation and space industrial sector in 2011 shrank for the first time in years, prompting calls for an independent military aviation strategy.
Sales fell by 1.1 percent to 6.4 billion euros ($8.37 billion) after generating 6.5 billion euros ($8.54 billion) in 2010. At the same time, the country’s aerospace industry as a whole grew by 4.1 percent, with total sales reaching 25.7 billion euros ($33.76 billion), up from 24.7 billion euros ($32.45 billion) in 2010.
At the presentation of these numbers on April 16 in Berlin, Thomas Enders, chairman of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Luft- und Raumfahrtindustrie (BDLI), the aerospace industry’s national lobby group, said the future of the military aviation industry in Germany is at stake. Enders will become CEO of EADS on May 31.
Great uncertainty, especially within supply chain companies, led to a decline in employment in the sector by 1 percent in 2011. Last year, about 22,400 people were working in the military sector, which was responsible for 24.9 percent of the German aerospace industry’s total sales.
“The military reform [that Germany has been undergoing for several months] especially makes small and medium-sized companies at the top of the supply chain anxious for their existence,” BDLI Vice President Arndt Schoenemann said.
According to a survey by his lobby group, some companies in that category would withdraw from the military market. As a result, Schoenemann said, the industrial support capacity for highly complex airborne weapons and the readiness of the German armed forces itself are at stake.
To counter this situation, the BDLI has called upon the German government to develop an independent military aviation strategy, citing the examples of France and Great Britain.