Germany has no comparable airlift capacity
Russian commercial air haulers operate giant transport planes. German military does not.
Yet Germany has for the past 15 years taken part in the occupation of Afghanistan requiring the German military to transport tons of cargo half way across the globe. Its Airbus A400 is not up to the task. It has neither loading capacity nor the range.
That's why since 2001 the German military has been forced to outsource the job to Russian and Ukrainian transport firms. This deal will expire any time now but the Germans are saying they have no option but to renew it.
In fact since the Russians are offering a much better price than the Ukrainians they might get an increased portion of the business -- if politics don't interfere. Deutsche Welle:
Germany will be forced to continue handing lucrative contracts to Russian and Ukrainian firms to transport its military hardware, according to Bundestag MPs. A joint contract with the Russian firm Volga Dnepr and the Ukrainian firm Antonov Design Bureau is due to run out at the end of the year, and will have to be renewed because Germany does not have its own large-scale military transport planes.
But the contract, leaked to public broadcaster ARD, will also have to be split in two because Ukraine is now engaged in a war with pro-Russian separatists in its eastern region. Since 2004, the two companies had been working together under the name "Strategic Airlift Interim Solution" (SALIS) to supply logistics to a number of NATO countries through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA).
SALIS used the huge Soviet-era Antonov 124-100 transport planes, which can deliver 120 tons of freight over 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles). Under the new contracts - agreed with ten partners, including Germany, France, Poland and Norway - Antonov planes will be contracted to fly some 1,600 flight hours in 2017, of which 1,080 will be for the German military. This number will sink slightly in 2018, leaving the German state a total bill of 101 million euros ($107 million) over two years.
The SALIS company split in the midst of the Ukraine crisis
But the rift between Russia and Ukraine has caused a new problem: the Ukrainian company is demanding a lot more money than the Russian counterpart, and according to some MPs on the Bundestag defense committee, the Defense Ministry cannot explain the discrepancy.
While the Antonov Design Bureau is to bill the German taxpayer 37,509 euros ($39,872) per flight hour, Volga Dnepr only wants 23,341 euros per flight hour, ARD reported.
Of course if Germany really hated paying all this money to Russians it could have stopped taking part in the occupation of Afghanistan.