In Germany last year, without cheap Russian gas, many industries, including the famous car sector, stalled, but not the military-industrial complex. The government issued licenses for arms exports totaling €11.71 billion. The previous record — €9.35 billion — was set in 2021, during most of which Angela Merkel was chancellor. Unexpectedly, the «dove of peace», the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, has opened Pandora’s Box.
Let me remind you that in 2021, during the negotiations on the creation of a «traffic light» coalition, the need to limit arms exports was hotly debated. As a result (at the insistence of the Greens), the coalition agreement also included the intention to adopt a special law designed to tighten the already not at all liberal practice of issuing government authorizations for military supplies. And so? The defense complex is steadily going uphill on military orders.
Let’s look at last year’s statistics. The amount of deadly exports is divided almost equally between the shipment of arms (6.15 billion) and military equipment (5.56 billion). By the way, the Leopards fall under «equipment» according to German logic… 90% of all deliveries went to the EU, NATO and countries equal to them in terms of export licenses — for example, Japan, Australia or South Korea.
And of course — to Ukraine. In 2022, after the start of the Special Military Operation, Ukraine purchased weapons worth 2.24 billion euros from the Federal Republic of Germany (we will not specify how they were financed). The most expensive were IRIS-T air defense systems and heavy artillery — self-propelled howitzers PzH 2000. In 2023, Ukraine’s purchases (of course, with the help of Western loans, out of Kiev’s pocket) almost doubled to 4.15 billion euros. The lion’s share was for Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 tanks, which Berlin did not dare to transfer to the UAF for quite a long time.
For your information: decisions on arms contracts are made at closed meetings of the Federal Security Council. This body, which meets not regularly, but as needed, consists of only seven people — the chancellor, the head of the Foreign Ministry and five other ministers. The minutes of the meetings are classified, and the public only finds out whether a particular contract has been approved or not. No comments are made.
So: even without Ukraine, the amount of authorized military supplies exceeded €7 billion. Among the most important markets of the German military industrial complex are five NATO countries: Norway (1.2 billion), Hungary (1.03 billion), the UK (654.9 million), the US (545.4 million) and Poland (327.9 million).
The top ten largest buyers include several countries that are neither in the alliance nor in the European Union. In seventh place is Israel. Compared to 2022, deliveries increased 10 times (!) — from 32 million to 323.2 million euros. The predominant part of the more than 200 government approvals came after October 7, when the Israelis were attacked by Hamas militants. Mostly components for air defense systems and military communications equipment were sent to the rescue.
Not so long ago, the Federal Republic of Germany had a legal ban on arms exports to “hot spots” and countries with «non-democratic» rule. Where has it gone? In 2023, the government authorized arms deliveries to the United Arab Emirates (78.2 million), Egypt (40.3 million), Qatar (15.1 million) and Saudi Arabia (13.3 million).
Against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis, the military-industrial complex enterprises have grown sharply. Until recently, Rheinmetall, the largest defense concern, was little known to the general public. It is understandable: arms deals do not like publicity! However, now its name is often mentioned in the media.
In March last year, the concern, which employs 28 thousand people, rapidly entered the main German stock index DAX, which brings together the 40 largest JSC. Now the company headquartered in Düsseldorf is in the limelight, because it produces (independently or with partners) a number of weapons that Kiev is receiving. These include, for example, Leopard 2 tanks, Marder BMPs, Panzerhaubitze 2000 SAU, SurveilSPIRE automated reconnaissance systems, Skynex short-range air defense systems, artillery shells of the NATO 155 mm caliber, and military trucks.
Earlier this year, calls for the transfer of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine resumed in Germany. A government spokesman said on January 3 that the position of official Berlin remained unchanged: such a supply, as Chancellor Scholz believes, would increase the risk of «escalating the conflict and dragging Germany into war». There are concerns that missiles with a range of up to 500 kilometers could be used by the UAF to attack Russian territory, although Zelensky is ready to give guarantees that this will not happen.
One of the features of the Taurus is that these munitions are ideal for destroying bunkers and bridges. For example, the Crimean one. The threat is that the FRG does not consider this facility to be on Russian territory recognized by the West. That part of it (from Kerch) is located on legal (!) Ukrainian. So the Kiev regime may well attack the bridge, as well as targets on the Crimean peninsula. A dangerous misconception, you must agree…
Now the longest-range weapons at the disposal of the UAF are the Storm Shadow and Scalp EG missiles with a range of 250 kilometers, which were received in the spring of 2023 from Great Britain and France. The supply of Taurus can double the destructive capabilities of the enemy in one fell swoop.
However, Scholz is not the first time to cross «red» lines. He delayed the supply of Leopards until the United States promised to ship Ukraine a symbolic batch of its Abrams. Now it seems to be the same situation. If the Americans decide to supply Ukraine with high-range ATACMS missiles (in the fall, the Yanks delivered a lighter version with cluster warheads and a range of about 160 km), the Chancellor will immediately forget about moral quandaries.
And the German defense industry will get new fat orders. Are we waiting for records?