A top-ranking retired German general says a string of recent embarrassing military equipment failures shows the country needs to spend more on defense.

Among other things, German army instructors got stranded in Bulgaria en route to Iraq when their plane broke down, and a leaked report listed a string of other military hardware problems.

Former chief of staff Harald Kujat said on rbb-radio Monday the German military has been increasingly involved in large operations like in Afghanistan, but has neglected equipment maintenance and replacement.

Germany this year reduced defense spending by about 800 million euros to 32.44 billion euros ($41.30 billion) — far below NATO's recommended level of 2 percent of GDP.

Kujat says "this is embarrassing for such a large country as Germany with such a big economy."