German maintenance. Example to imitate?

(To Gianluca Celentano)

If we are looking for examples that work against the military, commercial or tactical vehicle fleet, it could be the Bundeswehr to suggest an effective and, apparently, less demanding strategy for the Armed Forces.

You will remember when we proposed the rental concept adopted by the Bundeswehr, well we contacted the German army to understand how the maintenance of its fleet is managed.

With deadlines still unknown to us, our German friends replied within a week, giving us the name of "HIL". The company manages the procurement of vehicles in a context of flexibility with costs that do not penalize the effectiveness of the armed force. BwFuhrparkService which has several dozen service centers headed by branches located in central Europe. A tried-and-tested and functional system that is also able to provide specialized personnel.

Workshop resizing

If the BwFuhrparkService provides for the supply of the vehicles, there is another reality responsible for the repairs and maintenance of all military vehicles, tracked and wheeled of the German army.

La Heeresinstandsetzungslogistik GmbH (HIL) is a German state-owned company since 2013 which also provides maintenance of weapon systems and the repair and assembly of installation or conversion kits on vehicles supplied to the Bundeswehr.

In the German regiments the workshops still exist, but the amount of work is understandably reduced and limited to the checks that in our country would be equivalent to a sort of first level MO (Ordinary Maintenance) and MS (Specialized Maintenance), that is, executable during the 24 hours of downtime. . The picture makes it clear that it was not the minute realities for small maintenance that disappeared in the Bundeswehr, but what we call Maneuvering Departments. Additionally, repairs can be carried out by the company's mobile maintenance personnel or by a German Army maintenance facility operating at HIL facilities. The mobile work teams of the HIL are however equipped to solve the problems of military vehicles stationary in the field on their own or to provide for the temporary replacement of the stationary vehicle.


The objectives of the HIL are to manage any type of maintenance of vehicles and materials, to guarantee the efficiency of the land weapons systems of the Bundeswehr with an innovative planning of controls and management services. We could define the HIL as a kind of CERIMANT - supply and maintenance center - and, it seems clear, that the main aspect for which the German army relies on an external company, lies in reducing the soldiers assigned to the services, directing them instead in operational training tasks.

Headquartered in Bonn, it is structured on three repair plants and five branches with over 50 HIL bases and delegations in a foreign land, and has about two thousand employees in the various locations.

Would it work for us?

Excluding the concept of hiring military vehicles, in reality the parallel that can be drawn with Italy is not too different from the German solution which concentrates maintenance in a single company - and a single board of directors. The stipulation of acquisition contracts for wheeled and tracked vehicles and aircraft destined for the Italian Armed Forces already provides for an after-sales service chain. If anything, the feeling is that there is an unconfessed resistance towards repairs to be entrusted outside the barracks.

Italy appears to be at two speeds compared to Germany: on the one hand the dynamism represented by our multinationals operating for defense and very well established in the world, on the other a certain conservatism allergic to changes of pace and, perhaps, more accustomed to subjecting to many and onerous boards of directors. The result is delays and endless barrel discharge when choices need to be made. Leonardo's CEO, Alessandro Profumo, closed a recent interview with Corriere della Sera claiming: "One thing is clear after Afghanistan, that the Europe of Defense must begin to exist".

Photo: BwFuhrparkService GmbH / HIL GmbH