5 questions to Ingo Gerhartz, Lieutenant General and 16th Chief of the German Air Force.

Portraits - Pioneers of the aerospace industry and political decision-makers provide personal insights and their assessment of current industry trends.

1    What are your personal expectations for #ILA22 – what are you most looking forward to?

After four years I am looking forward to the ILA 2022 and the comeback of the traditional international aerospace trade show in Germany. We will present modern weapon systems to a public passionate about aviation and aerospace, and extensively address the consequences of the changing times in dialogue with politics, industry and research as well as with our international partners.

2    For you personally, do you see a most important trend in aerospace at the very moment? What is important for the Bundeswehr? 

ILA Berlin is traditionally the place where newest technological trends are presented and discussed. We will exchange on and further develop Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Multi Domain Operation as well as the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel together. However, the decisive and key “trend” of our time is the “Relevance of Speed”. I am not referring to the speed of our flying weapon systems, but to our swiftness and decisiveness: when it came to deploying additional Eurofighters in Romania just a few hours after the Russian invasion of the Ukraine began, we demonstrated our flexibility and responsiveness, and we continue to do so today. Operational forces are key, and speed is also crucial when we think about procurement projects and drive the modernisation of the air force even more consistently.

3    If you could meet one famous aerospace personality – living or from history: Who would it be and why?

If I had the chance to meet a famous person in history, then Leonardo da Vinci. He not only sketched the first sophisticated flying devices, but also described mankind's dream of flying at a time when this vision was far from reality. However, I believe he would have had far more questions for us. In any case, he would be an enthusiastic visitor at the ILA - I'm quite sure of that.

4    What abilities would you like to see with regard to aerospace and the role of the Bundeswehr in our national defence? Are there any current technological developments that you are following closely?

The Luftwaffe is facing great challenges. In all of this, the personal commitment of each individual remains decisive - together we take responsibility wherever we are needed, stay on course and master our modernisation. Space technologies play a decisive role in this, because without them our security is already unthinkable today.

5    What challenges does the Bundeswehr face in the future? 

We have not only recognised the dimension of space as a decisive “operational domain”, but have also set a decisive course for the long-term alignment of our armed forces by establishing the Bundeswehr Space Command. Here, we had already bundled experience and expertise, and last summer we consolidated the responsibilities and significantly strengthened our ability to act in the space dimension.