Two weeks in Austrian Defence | Aug 21

In Blog, English by Chiara Libiseller

TWIAD is your bi-weekly, English-language briefing on national security and defence affairs in the alpine republic. The most relevant news reports, press releases, articles and announcements are recapped and, where necessary, put into context for greater accessibility. Feel free to get in touch and leave us your feedback and thoughts, ask questions in the comments or join the #TWIAD raucity on Twitter!

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.

Infantry/Personal equipment

  • 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

Air Assets

  • 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

Ground Mobility

  • Replacement of all current unprotected ground vehicles

CBRN

  • Replacement of individual protective gear
  • Replacement/upgrade of vehicles

Air Defence

  • Replacement/upgrade of all current equipment (out of date) (this has also been debated publically last year – with no outcome)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

Weapons

  • Infantry: Replacement of outdated precision rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weaponry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)

Engineers

  • Modernisation of bridging equipment
  • Replacement of folding street slab systems

Logistics

  • 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

Reserves

  • Equipment of reserve formations with necessary equipment (vehicles, radios, etc.)

ICT

  • 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.

For further information on the current financial distress of the Bundesheer, check out these two earlier TWIAD posts.

 


Header image: Austrian Armed Forces/Harald Minich

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About the Author

Bernhard Völkl

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Bernhard is a reserve officer in the Austrian Armed Forces and works in the technology industry.

About the Author
Chiara Libiseller

Chiara Libiseller

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Chiara Libiseller is a doctoral candidate and Teaching Assistant at the War Studies Department, King’s College London. Her research traces the evolution of contemporary military concepts to understand broader patterns and fashions in the ways Anglo-American scholars and military professionals study and understand war. Her broad interests include military strategy, military history as well as Austrian and European defence.