An uproar in Germany has been caused in recent days by a journalistic investigation by the magazine Der Spiegel and the public network ZDF, which reveals that German former Luftwaffe fighter pilots have long been training Chinese pilots.

According to the revelations, German pilots with fighter jet experience were training Chinese pilots for pay under shadow contracts with letterbox companies based in the Seychelles. In one case, a company was allegedly owned by a former Chinese spy.

In fact, according to the journalistic research, these are extremely generous salaries, of several hundreds of thousands of euros per year. It is also interesting that the data on the contracts in question came from an earlier international journalistic investigation, the Panama Papers.

Immediate reaction of the German Ministry of Defense

The reaction was immediate from Social Democrat German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, who met his Chinese counterpart Li Sangfu in Singapore on Saturday at an Indo-Pacific Defense Ministers’ Summit and called for an immediate end to training programs involving former fighter jet pilots. of the Luftwaffe.

“I made it clear to my counterpart that I expect this practice to end immediately and I made it clear to him that it would not be funny at all if I did it unilaterally,” said Boris Pistorius.

According to the evidence that came to light, this practice within the Chinese army is not new. German veterans have been employed as fighter jet trainers for years. In particular, two of them are said to be former Eurofighter pilots and another former Tornado pilot in the German Air Force.

Did the German pilots reveal classified information?

Luftwaffe pilots are forced to retire at 41 for medical reasons, as their reflexes and eyesight gradually decline from that age onwards. Many of them then look for other professional outlets, such as that of a trainer.

According to Spiegel, it is possible that these pilots may have betrayed state secrets to China, as well as classified military information, such as attack scenarios.
So far, the German Ministry of Defense, according to the investigation, not only does not deny the reports, but has long been conducting related investigations in cooperation with secret services and international agencies.

And all this, of course, comes at a time when China is constantly being targeted by the international community due to increased aggression against Taiwan.