Infantry fighting vehicles, assault rifles, anti-aircraft missiles, night vision goggles, possibly a second jet fighter fleet, and so on: the Army shopping list is ready. And it has grown.
It would be easier to list where the military is everywhere Not invested than vice versa: after the dramatic increase in the defense budget, it is now for the first time known in detail what military planners want to spend over the next ten years. An attempt at overview.
mobility on the ground. In the field of armored personnel carriers (keyword “policeman”) the number should be increased and there should also be armored vehicles for specialists such as medics or pioneers. Intended for light infantry and Jagdkommando “light infantry vehicles“ can be purchased, on which there is still room for a whole group of shooters. It must then be weakly armored, but able to move quickly and cover larger areas. Pioneers also get more equipment.
Tactical air mobility. Over the next ten years they want to reduce from four to two types of helicopters: the S 70, which has already been introduced “black hawk” and the brand new ones expected for the first time at the end of 2022 AW 169B and M from Italy. The specification is here: A hunting company (approx. 120 men) must be able to be moved through Austria in one go by helicopter. Planners don’t care how that is split between S 70 and AW 169. The OH58 and AB212 with their distinctive sounding two-bladed rotor are being phased out. By fixed-wing aircraft, C-130 “Hercules” replaced in 2029, a decision on the successor is to be made within the next two years.
Active surveillance of the airspace. As has been reported many times on this site, the Eurofighter will remain the sole carrier of active airspace surveillance well into the 2030s – although it will be modified and may receive support: The strategists’ plans include an “advanced jet trainer”, a lighter jet with subsonic speed than Successor of the Saab 105 with roughly the same responsibilities: training of Eurofighter pilots, partial airspace surveillance at medium altitude, target display for anti-aircraft defense and backup fleet if the Eurofighters must be grounded collectively due to a technical defect or a defect in Zeltweg.
protection of soldiers. Probably the most immediate point that will affect the masses of army soldiers. Ever more modern, modular protective vests need to be purchased, the number of the previous 4000 night vision goggles should be greatly increased. “Night fighting, we see that in Ukraine, is indispensable today,” he said at the presentation. That Assault Rifle 77, known to every conscript, should go to the whole troop in the more modern version A2. And a new, light one anti-tank weapon was promised – probably also as a lesson from the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Mechanized Force. This point mainly means the battle tanks “Leopard 2”. They need to be adapted and modernized and thus have more possibilities than the current “A4” version currently has. Addendum: “But it won’t be the A7, the most modern version available to date.” The optics of the tanks in particular are old and urgently need to be renewed, according to the Ministry of Defense in Vienna.
Air defense on the ground. A big piece. In addition to the existing, very limited anti-aircraft capabilities using the 3.5 cm gun and “Mistral” short-range missiles, two completely new possibilities must be created: that of counter-drones using jammers and other electronic aids. And that of a MRAD, so one Medium Range Air Defense, the air defense over a distance of about 40 kilometers. Austria cannot do this at the moment and has never succeeded in doing so. It is not known which system will be purchased. However, the order volume will be greater than that of the Eurofighter, namely more than two billion euros.
Video: Mistral as the only surface-to-air missile in the Austrian inventory
Means of gradual effect. Behind the cumbersome designation hides another cumbersome designation, that of “final stage controlled artillery ammunition”. The war in Ukraine has shown that it is no longer effective to affect an area of 400 x 400 meters with normal artillery shells. What is needed are “intelligent” artillery shells that are fired roughly at the enemy and then hit the enemy with pinpoint accuracy using laser designation or sensors.
explore systems. Drones, drones, drones: From very small missiles for reconnaissance aircraft with a range of a few hundred meters (“so they can see around the corner without having to send a squadron”), to larger, more complex systems, you want them aerial exploration vastly improve. Also something whose importance has been increased by the war in Ukraine (and before that Nagorno-Karabakh).
Increased exercise activity. This is where it gets political: to effectively master the numerous new skills and systems (especially in a network), you need to practice. Exercises cost money, there is now. However, exercises also require that the Operating load decreases. When professional soldiers spend months on border, Covid or foreign broadcasts and train conscripts at home, there is no time to practice the military profession. According to experts, it is now up to Minister Klaudia Tanner to at least reduce the pressure of relief operations, even if she averts one or the other.
defensive readiness. Last under the term “self-sufficiency” propagated, this includes all investments in barracks, special military buildings such as protection against air raids, but also the improvement of cyber defense, food storage and more efficient medical centers for emergency situations, keyword “blackout”.
Conclusion: “Now the nagging is over,” said a senior officer who has been waiting for a budget increase for decades. “Now the troops are getting a new boost.” The resources are there, a legal basis has even been created with a National Defense Financing Act that has already been passed by the Council of Ministers. “We won’t buy anything we don’t absolutely need”, Secretary Klaudia Tanner repeats her mantra for the upcoming investment orgy. They and their successors will be judged on that statement.
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