German air force experience of operating its Eurofighters has moved on significantly since the last ILA, with one notable recent highlight being a month-long deployment of eight combat aircraft to Alaska.
Drawn from the Neuburg-based Fighter Wing 74, the aircraft participated in a US Air Force-led Red Flag Alaska exercise intended to prove the service's readiness to meet NATO air defence responsibilities with the type. It also offered a separate opportunity for the Luftwaffe's pilots to train with their counterparts in the USAF's Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor community.
Two of the Luftwaffe's Eurofighters are at ILA, visiting from its JG-31 unit in Nörvenich. Cassidian test pilot Geri Krähenbühl will be putting one through its paces during the flying display, with the other to be on view in the static park.
"Germany plays a crucial role in the Eurofighter programme on the political and industrial level, as well as being a core customer," says Eurofighter chief executive Enzo Casolini.
"Around 3,000 employees work directly on the Eurofighter with Cassidian in Germany, plus 22,000 indirect jobs in the country. So out of 100,000 jobs connected with the Eurofighter programme all over Europe, 25,000 are in Germany."
Casolini adds that in addition, "a high percentage of the costs for Eurofighter flow back to the German government as tax revenues".