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Bundesheer materiel and systems in need of replacement, listed
In response to a parliamentary inquiry surrounding Bundesheer materiel and force readiness, Minister of Defence Starlinger in mid August provided a list of equipment and assets deemed in urgent need of upgrade and/or replacement.
- Modernisation/replacement of assault rifle Steyr AUG A1
- Replacement of Battle Dress 03 with new camouflage fatigues
- Issuing of current model helmet and body armour to all soldiers
- Purchase of further NVGs
- Replacement of Saab 105 Oe fixed wing aircraft
- Replacement of Alouette III rotorcraft
- Upgrade/replacement of Pilatus PC-6 and PC-7 fixed wing aircraft
- 2025: Replacement of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft
- 2025: Replacement of Bell OH-58 Kiowa
- Replacement of all current unprotected ground vehicles
- Replacement of individual protective gear
- Replacement/upgrade of vehicles
- Replacement/upgrade of all current equipment (out of date) (this has also been debated publically last year – with no outcome)
- Development of UAV defence capabilities
- Infantry: Replacement of outdated precision rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weaponry
- Modernisation of remaining main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles
- Replacement of armoured recovery vehicles and sapper tanks
- Procurement of PANDUR EVO IFV (note that MoD is stating a distinct type here)
- Modernisation of bridging equipment
- Replacement of folding street slab systems
- Replacement of recovery and heavy transport vehicles, medical vehicles and buses
- Procurement of further large trucks for heavy goods transportation
- Restoration of military installations’ self sufficiency
- Equipment of reserve formations with necessary equipment (vehicles, radios, etc.)
- Upgrade/modernisation of current ICT/3C systems
- Procurement of further troop radios
- Upgrade/modernisation of EW capabilities
While the above list seems rather expansive and somewhat general at first sight, it is one of the more comprehensive overviews of the Bundesheer’s material shortfalls to date. While there are no cost projections to go with the list, Starlinger in his statement notes that the replacement of around 1,000 unprotected small vehicles alone would come to about 250m EUR, while only 50m have been granted for investment in military mobility overall.
Cuts, cuts, cuts
Meanwhile, austerity measures have reached slightly bizarre levels: Swearing-in ceremonies of new conscripts in Carinthia and Burgenland, will no longer be held outside regular working hours to save overtime pay; marching band performances are cut entirely.
Public relations, not a Bundesheer priority in the best of times, is due to face further constraints, making the attraction of talent all the more challenging.
One is left to speculate whether the summer slump or lack of funds are the reason that no new posts have appeared on the Bundesheer website’s news section in almost two weeks.
Header image: Austrian Armed Forces/Harald Minich
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