Friday, December 17, 2010
Austria Plans Massive Cut in Army Equipment
"We will continue to operate heavy protected equipment for foreign missions to protect our servicemen and women, and in case of long-term change in the security situation we must retain the ability to operate tanks. However, the current security situation and the missions of the armed forces allow a drastic reduction in the size of the tank fleet," the minister said.
The Jagdpanzer Kürassier tank destroyers and the Saurer tracked armored vehicles will all be retired and sold and scrapped, as will part of the inventory of Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks and [M-109] self-propelled howitzers.
In addition, the army also partially reduce its holdings of 20mm and 35mm anti-aircraft guns, Mistral anti-aircraft missiles, Panzerabwehrlenkwaffe 2000 anti-tank missiles, 81mm and 120mm mortars, and parts of the air-defence network. In all, about 1,000 items of equipment will be retired.
Threat analysis shows that a tank war has become extremely unlikely. An autonomous, traditional territorial defense is no longer necessary due to the changed security situation.
"We can therefore substantially reduce our heavy equipment, some of which are relics of the Cold War that are not needed or no longer in required in their current numbers for present and future missions," Darabos stressed. "The army will thus be able to concentrate on current challenges and future missions at home and abroad," said the minister.
The intention is to transform the army to operate, in the medium and long-term, in the direction of light, protected, highly mobile and air transportable units. Examples are the new Dingo armored vehicle in various versions, new road and off-road trucks, air-transportable medical containers, the update of our entire AB 212 helicopter fleet and the new protected multi-purpose vehicles IVECO LMV.