German Air Force Stages “Weird” Elephant Walk With 18 Eurofighters (With No Pilots, Wheel Chocks and Engines Off).

Elephant Walk at Neuburg. (Image credit: Luftwaffe)

Elephant Walk at Bavarian Air Base involved 18 Eurofighters at Neuburg Air Base. Parked on the runway, rather than taxiing on it.

The German Air Force has arranged an Elephant Walk that involved 18 Eurofighter jets of TLG (Tactical Luftwaffengeschwader) 74 at Neuburg Air Base on Mar. 6, 2021.

Images of the Eurofighters together on the runway were posted by the Luftwaffe on their social networks.

While the reason for the Elephant Walk has not been made public, the way it was carried out is somehow weird. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll notice that the aircraft were not taxiing when the shots were taken as the wheel chocks are clearly visible in the head-on photographs. Actually, not even the pilot can be seen aboard the aircraft. In other words, it looks like the aircraft were towed in position and parked for the shooting.

During Elephant Walk exercises military aircraft (sometimes fully armed – at least with inert weapons) taxi in close formation or in sequence right before a minimum interval takeoff and, depending on the purpose of the training event, then they either take off or taxi back to the apron. Quite rare until a few years ago (and limited to the U.S. units in the Korean peninsula) such “shows of force” have become increasingly popular both at American air bases in CONUS and abroad, as well as among foreign air arms. Dealing with the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Italian Air Force arranged a small Elephant Walk with 11 F-2000s at Gioia del Colle airbase last year. But, in that case the Typhoons taxied on the runway and were not moved there to take the shots.

In 2019, the shortage of operational aircraft in the German Air Force made the news when Air Force Inspector Ingo Gerhartz warned. Spare parts were not available and servicing a Eurofighter often took longer than a year, “Completely unacceptable”, Gerhartz said at the time. The situation is said to have improved since then, but the Elephant Walk staged on Mar. 6, 2021, can’t be considered a proof of increased readiness.

Anyway, as reported here at The Aviationist, last year, Germany is renovating the Luftwaffe fleet, starting from the Eurofighter with Project Quadriga. The German parliament approved the acquisition of 38 new Eurofighter to replace 38 older Eurofighters of Tranche 1, the first delivered to the Luftwaffe, in November 2020. Deliveries should start in 2025.

The subsequent step is the replacement of the Tornado, which should be replaced by a mix of 55 Eurofighters, 30 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and 15 E/A-18G Growlers. Initially, the Tornado was to be replaced entirely by Eurofighters, with the new Eurofighter ECR variant replacing the specialized Tornado ECR. However, Germany needs a nuclear capable aircraft to fulfill the NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement. While neither the Eurofighter nor the Super Hornet can carry the B-61 nuclear bomb, the German MOD has assessed that the integration of nuclear bomb will be faster on the American-made aircraft, while it would take from three to five years longer on the Eurofighter.

About David Cenciotti 4325 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.