German Air Force
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Air Force

Current Title: Lufwaffe
Title in English: German Air Force
Abbreviation: GAF


Narrative Summary:
1907 Army acquires first Zeppelin dirigible. 1910 Army obtains first aircraft. 1 October 1912 Military Aviation Service created. 1920 air arm demobilised and disbanded under Treaty of Versailles. 1928-1931 secret training in Russia. 1933 covert air force in existence. March 1935 Luftwaffe officially revealed - operates as independent air arm. April 1945 Luftwaffe broken up on surrender. 1955 East German Air Force established. 24 September 1956 West German Air Force established. 3 October 1990 Luftwaffe absorbs East German Air Force. 1995 commences first operations outside of NATO area - over Bosnia under NATO control.

Key Dates:
24 September 1956    German air force established (Luftwaffe)
3 October 1990    Re-unification with East Germany

Current Status:
To be added

Future Plans:
Procurement of 180 Eurofighter Typhoons to replace the F-4 and MiG-29. JG73 will commence re-equipping in April 2004, followed by JG 74 in 2005 and then JBG 31.
85 Tornados to receive mid-life update, with the 80-90 that remain being withdrawn from service by 2007.
Procurement of 60 A.400M transport aircraft to replace the C-160s.
UH-1D to be replaced by 30 NH.90 TTH from 2004. Some NH.90 will take on a CSAR role.
LTG 62 to move entirely to Holzdorf.
All Luftwaffe helicopters to be concentrated at Holzdorf.


National Insignia:
Current --- Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbering System(s):

Up until 1968, Luftwaffe aircraft were allocated an alphanumeric identity code comprising two letters and three numbers, eg: Sabre 6 JB+103. For the Air Force, the letters were in the range AA to NL. These codes were not permament, and could change as the aircraft moved between units. On 1 January 1968 a proper unique serial numbering system was introduced, consisting of a four digit number, allocated in blocks according to the aircraft's main role, eg: F-4F Phantom 37+27.


Aircraft Designation System(s):
None - Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory:
Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List:
Alphabetical Order --- Chronological Order

Aircraft NOT Used:
False reports of aircraft on order or in service


Main Headquarters:

Current Organisational Structure:
The Luftwaffe is organised into an Air Force Command, an Air Force Office and a Support Command. The former has two subordinate regional commands: Air Force Tactical Command North, and South, each with two subordinate divisions. The Air Force Office controls all training, while the Support Command provides logistical support.

Current Order of Battle:
Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle:
List of Historical Orders of Battle - to be added.

All-Time Flying Units List:
To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases:
The main air bases now being used are listed in the current Order of Battle.

All-Time Air Bases Used List:
A number of older air bases have been closed, and there are also a number of smaller airports and airfields around the country which are sometimes used by the Air Force.
Military Air Bases Listing - to be added.

More Information


German Military Aviation Bibliography - to be added.


World Air Power Journal No.1 p.140
Air International May 1998
Air Forces Monthly October 1997
Air International May 2006


The Official German Air Force Website

wikipedia: Luftwaffe

Scramble: German Air Arms

Air-Britain: German Air Force photos

German Air Force

Holloman AFB: Deutsche Luftwaffe

German military aircraft register

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First Created: 13 December 1995 - Last Revised: 24 May 2008
Copyright 1995 John Hayles.    e-mail: