Austrian Armed Forces Announce Massive Reduction of Heavy Equipment
Minister of Defence and Sports Norbert Darabos has announced a reduction of the Austrian Armed Forces' fleet of armoured vehicles by more than 50 percent.
About 1,000 Items of Equipment
More than 500 armoured vehicles will be decommissioned, including all "Kürassier" light tanks, all "Saurer" armoured personnel carriers, parts of the "Leopard" 2A4 fleet and M-109 self-propelled howitzers. Additionally, the forces also reduce their inventory of 20mm and 35mm anti-aircraft guns, "Mistral" anti-aircraft missiles, "Panzerabwehrlenkwaffe 2000" anti-tank missiles, and mortars. In total, about 1,000 items of equipment will be sold or scrapped.
Drastic Reduction Due to Security Situation
"We will continue to operate heavy protected equipment for foreign missions to protect our soldiers. And in case of a long-term change in the security situation we must sustain our capabilities in the field of tanks. However, the current security situation and the missions of the armed forces allow a drastic reduction in the size of the armoured fleet," Minister Darabos said.
Current and Future Challenges
Threat analysis have shown that a tank war has become extremely unlikely. Due to the changed situation, an autonomous, territorial defence is no longer necessary. "We can therefore reduce our heavy equipment, some of which are relicts of the Cold War that are not needed or are no longer required in their current numbers for present and future missions," Darabos explained. "Thus, the army will be able to concentrate on current challenges and future missions at home and abroad."
Light, Protected, Highly Mobile and Air Transportable Equipment
In the future, the Austrian Armed Forces intent to rely on light, protected, highly mobile and air transportable equipment. Examples are the new "Dingo", new road and off-road trucks, air-transportable medical containers, the update of the AB-212 helicopter fleet and the new protected multi-purpose vehicles IVECO LMV.