Roland Dürre
Tuesday June 16th, 2015

Are We Nuts, Or What?

Schwedisches Mehrzweckkampfflugzeug Saab JAS 39 Gripen (schwed. „Greif“)

Swedish Multi-Task Fighter Jet Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Swedish „Greif“)

I rather like the Swiss. After all, I have many Swiss friends and know numerous enterprises there quite well. They fascinate me.

Consequently, I get the impression that much is a little more innovative there than here. General studies confirm my opinion. And I also think that the direct democracy is one of the reasons for the Swiss success story – which can actually even survive an enormous increase in value of the Swiss Franken. Incidentally, this is also due to many very industrious and important German “Guest Labourers” – at all levels. I just met many of them in Zurich.

Here is an example for a nice result of direct democracy:

The Swiss Government (Schweizer Regierung) wanted to buy 22 Swedish Gripes (fighter jets made by Saab) for its air force. Well, many people world-wide wonder what a country like Switzerland would want with such fighter jets. Also, it is hard to imagine a real scenario where they might become active. Apparently, this is also what the Swiss citizens asked themselves. They voted against it with a majority of 53.4 per cent when they were asked if the jet should be bought on May, 18th, 2014.

An important argument of Gripe enemies was that the same money they would have had to spend on the fighter jets could be used a lot more effectively to, for example, protect people against attacks from the internet, also called cyberspace.

And what will the Germans and the Bavarians do in the summer of 2015?

They institute the first study course for military fighter jet pilots at the German Armed Forces. This new course of studies “Aeronautical Engineering” will start at October, 1st, 2015 with 13 students and future pilots. I do not know if some of them are women.

The study course combines extensive studies in engineering with flight training for “military fighter jet pilots”. It will all happen in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen. That is where we have some kind of armament-industrial area. In parts, it is a run-down district, but over the last few years, they invested significantly into infra-structure. There is a strange contrast between rather dilapidated office buildings and beautiful new streets with cyclist’s paths, (both of) which nobody really needs.

And in this district, the Ludwig Bölkow campus will be built. It is part of the University of the Armed Forces and will probably house some kind of external education. The studying concept is a dual system designed to combine academic content and technological/practical training. The director of the Munich Aerospace e.V., Prof. Klaus Drechsler, is certain that the “new and first study course on the Ludwig Bölkow Campus will be an enormous attraction for future study courses”.

On May, 22nd, the president of the University of the Armed Forces, Prof. Merith Niehuss, gave the starting shot for the project on the Ludwig Bölkow Campus in Ottobrunn/Taufkirchen. Among the persons present were Airbus Boss Thomas Enders, the director general of the European Space-and Aircraft Organization ESA Jean-Jacques Dordain and other representatives from industry, science, politics, and the Armed Forces. Naturally, the ritualistic ceremony was also attended by the Bavarian Minister Frau Ilse Aigner, who holds the record of attendances and speeches when it comes to events and openings in Bavaria. Will “Mrs. Super-Busy” now become “Mrs. Supersonic”? For details, read the article on the University of the Armed Forces website.

One would assume that studying and flying fighter planes are primarily educational and military issues. Consequently, the defence minister (ok, Bavaria has no defence minister) or the minister of education should be responsible, shouldn’t they? At least that is what comes to mind. But then, the minister of economy is probably involved because in our country, all is about business and profit, anyway. The communication about it always includes the lie that “it is all in the interest of jobs”.

Consequently, the new course of study – just like the decision we heard early in June 2015 that the anti-missile system MEADS will be bought for several billion Euros by the Armed Forces for air defence – is only a part of the federal and substantial program initiated for a gigantic business promotion. It has been made to happen by a powerful lobby, but people gladly comply, because otherwise the German success balloon might burst!

Here are a few comments telling you why I do not understand any of this.

  • Do we still live in a world where the daredevil fight of lonely heroes with their jets in the sky fighting for life and death is at all justifiable?
  • Do manned fighter jets still make any military sense in an epoch dominated by anti-missile systems and drones?
  • Can we not find enough examples in fields where we should re-establish our competitiveness, for instance in computer science?

I think there are many things on this planet that would be more worthy of our money and intelligence than studies for fighter pilots. Consequently, news like this one give e me almost physical pain.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture from Wikipedia – it was uploaded by User:MatthiasKabel – own product.

1 Kommentar zu “Are We Nuts, Or What?”

  1. o1i (Thursday June 18th, 2015)

    Die Frau Ilse Aigner macht da schon Sinn, da die Universitaet nicht dem Freistaat untersteht, sondern dem Bund. Somit waere das Bundesministerium der Verteidigung bzw. das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung zustaendig und keinesfalls das Bayerische Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst.

    Den einzigen “nicht-bund” Bezug gibt es nur zur bayerischen Wirtschaft und da ist die Frau Aigner zustaendig.

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