WTS – The German Defence Technology Study Collection – East German Tech

Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS - Defence Technology Study Collection) in Koblenz, Germany
Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS – Defence Technology Study Collection) in Koblenz, Germany

Continuing on from my previous post of my 2015 visit to the Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS – Defence Technology Study Collection) in the city of Koblenz, which has a focus on military technical aspects to be used as an aid in the training of members of the Bundeswehr (Federal Defence, the armed forces of Germany), the following post highlights the former East German (GDR) aircraft along with an overview of the various vehicles, weapons and equipment that fill the halls of the WTS collection. Although the WTS is technically not a museum, the public are allowed to visit but as it is on a military base you need to bring your passport to be allowed to enter the buildings.

Please also be aware that generally all the information at the WTS is presented is in German (it is first and foremost a functional place for the German military). A basic knowledge of the language helps a lot but regardless you can still enjoy all that the WTS has to offer.

Remnants of East Germany (GDR)

The former East and West Germany Map
The former East and West Germany

The East German Air Force (Luftstreitkräfte der Nationalen Volksarmee – LSK) operated as a well-trained and well equipped air division of the National People’s Army (NPA or Nationalen Volksarmee – NVA) from 1956 through to their final year of operation in 1990 following the reunification of Germany in October 1990. The last official day of the LSK was October 2nd, 1990 but flight operations ceased on September 30th, 1990.

Following reunification some of the LSK aircraft and personnel were incorporated into the German Luftwaffe. Given that many of the aircraft although well maintained, were either nearing obsolescence or were not compatible with NATO aircraft operations, mostly only transport aircraft and helicopters plus MiG-29 fighters were retained. Numerous Tupolev/Antonov transport aircraft along with Mil Mi-8 transport helicopters and Mil Mi-24 Hind gunships were operated until the mid to late 1990’s.

East German Air Force Emblem (LSK)
East German Air Force Emblem (LSK)

A number of the other LSK combat aircraft were used for a period following the German reunification for testing and evaluation purposes only by the Bundeswehr Technical and Airworthiness Center for Aircraft (WTD 61) at Manching Air Base until 1998. Some of these aircraft can be seen at WTS including a Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21bis Fishbed N fighter and the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H attack aircraft. They are displayed with numerous Soviet era weapons options.

Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21bis Fishbed N fighter and Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H attack aircraft used for flight and weapons testing by the Luftwafffe Test and Evaluation Centre (WTD –61) at Manching until 1998 - WTS, Koblenz
Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21bis Fishbed N fighter and Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H attack aircraft used for flight and weapons testing by the Luftwafffe Test and Evaluation Centre (WTD –61) at Manching until 1998 – WTS, Koblenz (December 2015)
Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21bis Fishbed N and MiG-23BN Flogger H formerly from East Germany that were used for testing as part of the later reunified German military. Taken during my recent visit to the German Army Wehrtechnischen Studiensammlung (technical studies museum)
Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21bis Fishbed N and MiG-23BN Flogger H formerly from East Germany that were used for testing as part of the later reunified German military at the German Army Wehrtechnischen Studiensammlung (technical studies museum) along with a Soviet era MiG-21 ejection seat and flight suit in comparison to US Martin Baker ejection suits and a flight suit from the UK

The LSK received 14 MiG-21bis-Lazur Fishbed L in 1975 equipped with the Lazur Ground Control Interception system and 32 MiG-21bis Fishbed N in 1976 equipped  with the Polyot Instrument Landing System and designated MiG-21bis-SAU in the GDR (SAU referred to Sistema Avtomaticheskovo Upravleniya = “Automatic Control System”). 41 MiG-21bis remained in service with the LSK until 1990.

1 of the 41 remaining MiG-21bis that were delivered to the East German LSK between 1975-1976. WTS, Koblenz 2015
1 of the 41 remaining MiG-21bis that were delivered to the East German LSK between 1975-1976. WTS, Koblenz 2015
Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21 bis Fishbed N fighter displayed with its Tumanskiy R11F2S-300 afterburning turbojet engine and fitted with Rocket Assisted Take-Off (RATO) pods at WTS
Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21 bis Fishbed N fighter displayed with its Tumanskiy R25-300 afterburning turbojet engine and fitted with Rocket Assisted Take-Off (RATO) pods at WTS (2015)
The MiG-21bis is displayed armed with K-13 (AA-2 Atoll) short range infra-red air to air missiles and rocket pods. Next to the MiG is a KH-25 (AS-10 Karen) air to surface missile WTS Koblenz
The MiG-21bis is displayed armed with K-13 (AA-2 Atoll) short-range infra-red air to air missiles and rocket pods. Next to the MiG is a KH-25 (AS-10 Karen) air to surface missile

Around 1980 the East German Air Force increased its ground attack capability with the delivery of the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H ground attack aircraft (the more capable variant of the MiG-27 export). 18 MiG-23BN were in operation with the LSK in 1989, serving with JBG-37 at Drewitz.

Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H at the WST, Koblenz
Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H at the WST, Koblenz in 2015
Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H ground attack aircraft displayed with its Khatchaturov R-35-300 afterburning turbojet engine at WTS
Former East German Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23BN Flogger H ground attack aircraft displayed with its Khatchaturov R-35-300 afterburning turbojet engine at WTS (2015)
MiG-23BN weapons displayed include bombs, rocket pods and the Kh-23 Grom (AS-7 Kerry) air to surface missile at WTS Koblenz 2015
MiG-23BN weapons displayed include bombs, rocket pods and the Kh-23 Grom (AS-7 Kerry) air to surface missile at WTS
Kh-29 / AS-14 Kedge air to surface missile Maverick Missile WTS Koblenz Germany
Designed by the Soviets in the 1970’s and introduced into service in 1980 the Kh-29 / AS-14 Kedge air to surface missile is massive! Fitted with a high explosive armour-piercing warhead the missile can be guided by laser, infrared, active radar or TV guidance to hit a target such as a building, bridge, armoured vehicle, ships etc. It is similar in purpose to the US AGM-65 Maverick but features a heavier warhead than the American missile (320 kg / 705 lb compared to 136 kg / 300 lb for the WDU-24/B penetrating blast-fragmentation in the Maverick). Here both missiles with optical guidance are compared side by side at the German Army Wehrtechnischen Studiensammlung (technical studies museum) in Koblenz, Germany (photo taken during my visit in December 2015). The size difference between the missiles is very noticeable!

The former East German Mil Mi-24P Hind F at WTS displays the fearsome firepower that the gunship could bring to bear on an enemy force. Fitted with the massive fixed twin-barrel GSh-30K 30mm autocannon (with 750 rounds of ammunition) amongst numerous Soviet era weapons systems deployed on the aircraft it was one mean machine! It bears the emblem of WTD-61 but a number of the 51 (of an original 68) Mil Mi-24’s that remained in LSK service in 1989 continued to be operated in Germany until 1993.

Former East German Mil Mi-24P Hind F helicopter gunship at WTS Koblenz
Former East German Mil Mi-24P Hind F helicopter gunship at WTS, Koblenz in 2015
Former East German Mil Mi-24P Hind F helicopter gunship at WTS Koblenz in 2015
Former East German Mil Mi-24P Hind F helicopter gunship at WTS in 2015 wearing the emblem of WTD-61
The business end of the Mil Mi-24P Hind F includes the heavy firepower of the massive fixed twin-barrel GSh-30K 30mm autocannon (with 750 rounds of ammunition) WTS Koblenz
The business end of the Mil Mi-24P Hind F includes the heavy firepower of the massive fixed twin-barrel GSh-30K 30mm autocannon (with 750 rounds of ammunition)
The weapons load of the Mi-24 is fearsome - in addition to the main gun this Hind is displayed with wingtip 9K114 Shturm (AT-6 Spiral) anti-tank missiles, underwing rocket pods and a GUV-8700 Gun Pod fitted with 2 x GShG 7.62mm and 1 Yak-B 12.7mm rotary machine guns! A Hind Isotov TV3-117 turbine engine is also displayed next the helicopter WTS Koblenz
The weapons load of the Mi-24 is fearsome – in addition to the main fixed twin-barrel GSh-30K gun this Hind is displayed with wingtip 9K114 Shturm (AT-6 Spiral) anti-tank missiles, underwing rocket pods and a GUV-8700 Gun Pod fitted with 2 x GShG 7.62mm and 1 Yak-B 12.7mm rotary machine guns! A Hind Isotov TV3-117 turbine engine is also displayed next the helicopter
Mi-24 wingtip 9K114 Shturm (AT-6 Spiral) anti-tank missiles, underwing rocket pods and a GUV-8700 Gun Pod fitted with 2 x GShG 7.62mm and 1 Yak-B 12.7mm rotary machine guns WTS Koblenz Germany GDR
Mi-24 wingtip 9K114 Shturm (AT-6 Spiral) anti-tank missiles, underwing rocket pods and a GUV-8700 Gun Pod fitted with 2 x GShG 7.62mm and 1 Yak-B 12.7mm rotary machine guns

Vehicles & Weaponry

The WTS displays vehicles and weaponry covering the history of the German Army, Navy and Air Force from imperial times, through World War One, World War Two, the Cold War and the modern era. The Cold War displays include both East and West Germany.

tanks Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Tanks and tank destroyers on display include both operational and experimental prototypes
Motorbikes Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Motorbikes an sidecars are displayed essentially from World War Two to modern day
Armoured vehicles Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Armoured and unarmoured vehicles
Armoured Vechicles Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Armoured vehicles of all types are displayed
Missile and rocket technology Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Missile and rocket technology
Big gun! 24cm Field Cannon K-3 Vz from WW2 WTS Germany
Big gun! 24cm Field Cannon K-3 Vz from WW2
From miniature submarines to Surface to Air Missiles WTS Koblenz Germany
From miniature submarines (“Seehund”)  to Surface to Air Missiles
Vehicles Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Plenty of vehicles to see and even the remote control “Goliath” explosive device from WW2
Kubelwagen, Schwimmwagen and more Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Kubelwagen, Schwimmwagen and more
AA half-tracks from WW2 Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
AA half-tracks from WW2
Guns and weaponry from many eras Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung (WTS) - Koblenz, Germany
Guns and weaponry from many eras

There is much to see in Koblenz but I thoroughly recommend a visit to the Wehrtechnische Studiensammlung for any military history enthusiast. For much of the time I was in the museum, I pretty much had the place to myself and to be honest I was in my element!

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