Flying politicians and military troops, evacuating wounded soldiers and providing air-to-air refuelling – the Flight Service of the German Ministry of Defence is widely tasked, as Dr Stefan Petersen discovers in the August issue of AFM.
When the German president, the chancellor and her ministers or other elected officials go on business trips they require special aircraft. With VIP interiors, black, red and gold fuselage cheat-line and ‘Bundesrepublik Deutschland’ titles, the ‘White Fleet’ of the Flugbereitschaft des Bundesministeriums der Verteidigung (Flight Service of the German Ministry of Defence) stands ready to transport them.
To carry high-ranking government officials to their destinations, two long-haul Airbus A340-300s – plus two A319CJs and four Bombardier Global 5000s used primarily for medium-range missions – are based at the military section of Cologne Bonn Airport. Shorter trips are handled by three AS532 Cougar helicopters stationed at Berlin Tegel Airport.
All the aircraft sport the Iron Cross, since the Flugbereitschaft, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, is an air transport wing of the Luftwaffe.
The service also has a component for military missions: the ‘Grey Fleet’ comprises five A310s – one in passenger configuration and four outfitted as Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs).
The diversity of types and different performance requirements bring very special challenges.