On 16 March 2009, the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defense Christian Schmidt honored the 10,000th flying hour of the German Air Force with the EUROFIGHTER weapon system at Fighter Wing 74 in Neuburg on the Danube at the presence of the Chief of Staff, German Air Force, Lieutenant General Klaus-Peter Stieglitz, with an official ceremony. Numerous guests of honor from industry, politics, society and the military attended this ceremony. The musical framework program of the official ceremony was provided by German Air Force Band 1 from Neubiberg, conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Johann Orterer. State Secretary Schmidt and General Stieglitz handed over a certificate to the pilot of the jubilee aircraft. The jubilee represents another milestone in the process of fielding the weapon system in the German Air Force.
EUROFIGHTER flight operations in the German Air Force started with the arrival of the first seven aircraft at Fighter Wing 73 "Steinhoff" in Rostock/Laage on 26 April 2004 and the beginning of general field tests. The main task, i.e. the retraining and training of pilots for the EUROFIGHTER weapon system, has been performed in this unit since the beginning of 2005. Since then, more than 50 pilots have been retrained, while currently the first two pilots have already taken up their initial training after having completed fundamental training in the USA. So far, more than 20 officers have been granted an instructor pilot rating for the conduct of training and retraining. This year's highlight at Fighter Wing 73 "Steinhoff" has been the successful deployment of the weapon system over a strategic distance of more than 8,000 km to India for participation in the AERO INDIA 2009 air show. With approximately three quarters of the total number of flying hours of the German Air Force, this unit has the greatest share in this jubilee.
Fighter Wing 74 in Neuburg on the Danube is the second unit that has been equipped with the EUROFIGHTER. The transfer of the first four EUROFIGHTERS on 25 June 2006 effected the conversion from the F-4F PHANTOM employed in the unit up to that time. Following the completion of the operational trials phase, the takeover of the NATO QRA (quick reaction alert) role with the EUROFIGHTER weapon system was reported to NATO on 03 June 2008. Thus, this part of the fielding phase was successfully completed as well. Since then, the wing, being the first operational EUROFIGHTER unit of the German Air Force, has been making an important contribution to security in the airspace over Germany with the operational employment of the EUROFIGHTER.
Additional information on the EUROFIGHTER can be found on the homepage, www.luftwaffe.de, under "Waffen und Technik" (Weapons and Technology).