Founded in 1955, after a disarmament period that followed the disbanding their previous Air Force, “The Luftwaffe” at the close of World War Two, the German Air Force is primarily a defensive force, experiencing their first combat operations post-Second World War in October 1995 when they participated in “Operation Deliberate Force,” a NATO intervention in Bosnia. They have since participated in NATO Operations in Kosovo, NATO air patrols over new member-states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and provided air support functions for the 2000’s War in Afghanistan. With the reunification with East Germany in 1990, the East German “Luftstreitkräfte der NVA” (Air Forces of the National People’s Army) was folded into the German Air Force and in 2004, the Marineflieger, the German Navy’s air arm transferred all responsibility for aerial combat to the German Air Force, which is presently the fourth largest within the European Union, after the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
NOTE: In the German language “luftwaffe” literally means “air arm” and as such Germans refer to all air services, including their present Air Force as “luftwaffe.” As an example, the Germans call the RAF the “britische Luftwaffe.” For English-speakers “Luftwaffe” refers only to the entity that participated in and was disbanded as a result of WWII.
You’ve probably seen this video before, Legendary Belgian Air Force Silvers Aerobatic Team member, William “Bill” Ongena performing a touch-roll-touch in a Lockheed F-104G Starfighter, a plane that was infamously difficult to control at lower […]