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Bild: Bundesheer
Austrian Armed Forces
© Gaube
The main tasks of the Austrian Armed Forces
To defend Austria
The country's military defence is the duty of the Austrian Armed Forces. It is conducted on the principles of a militia system.

The Armed Forces furthermore have ... protect the constitutionally established institutions
and the population's democratic freedoms maintain order and security inside the country render assistance in the case of natural catastrophes
and disasters of exceptional magnitude.
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the Federal President, supreme command is exercised by the Federal Minister of Defence.
© Bundesheer
© Bundheer
Overview of the Austrian Armed Forces
The Austrian Armed Forces form the armed power of the Republic of Austria. Their Commander-in-Chief is the Austrian Federal President, while the Minister of Defence exercises his power of supreme command by way of his offices and subordinated commanders.

The primary objective of the AAF is the armed defence of Austria. Other tasks include defending constitutional institutions, preserving law and order and providing humanitarian aid in case of natural catastrophes. Because of Austria's membership in the UN, the EU and Partnership for Peace (PfP), foreign assignments have notably increased in importance.

In times of peace, the Army comprises professional soldiers, further employees and conscripts. The task force organisation also includes militia soldiers. The Armed Forces are divided into the air force, landbased and special forces.

Manning Level
After having reached its final overhauled structure in 2010, personnel is expected to be of the following strength:

Armed Forces Command together with Mission Support Command:

21,000 officials
24,000 militia soldiers
45,000 people

In addition to these, employees of the Central Command (Ministry of Defence), of further offices, academies and schools contribute to a total troop strength of 55,000, including a pool of experts drawn from militia.
Theresan Military Academy
Bild: Bundesheer Founded in 1751 by Maria Theresia as a "cadet school" with the intent of providing an excellent military education to the most able young men, the Theresan Military Academy remains a world leading institution to this day. The combination of a heart of tradition with modern education on a college level is mainly responsible for the internationally recognised high level of qualification of Austrian officers.

From Cadet School to College Course
Since 1998, the officer cadet course is an officially recognised college course. One of the larger changes during the course of the reform preceding this arrangement was the opening of the academy to civilian students, with the intention of providing them with the skills necessary for hands-on management in fields such as disaster relief organisations. In order to be granted a place at the course, a prospective student will have to be qualified for higher education entrance in Austria – in most cases this means being in possession of an Austrian high school diploma – and pass a series of entry exams. A military applicant aiming to pursue a career as an officer in the Austrian Armed Forces will additionally need to have completed a preparation semester during the course of a one-year voluntary service or already be an NCO.

Officers as Expert Managers
The “Military Leadership” course focuses on communication, teamwork and organisational skills as well as problem analysis and autonomous development of solution methodologies. This provides the academy’s students with a funded background in leadership and crisis management and qualifies them as expert managers in both a military and civilian context. Upon completion of the four-year course, the students graduate with the rank of Lieutenant and a Master’s degree in “Military Leadership”. While civilian students receive the same degree as military students, they do not receive a military rank.
Rank Insignia
Enlisted (Without Rank)
Enlisted (With Rank)
Lance Corporal Corporal Master Corporal
Non-Commissioned Officers
Sergeant Master Sergeant Staff Sergeant
Warrant Officer III Warrant Officer II Warrant Officer I
Commissioned Officers
Officer Cadet Second Lieutenant First Lieutenant
Captain Major Lieutenant Colonel
Colonel Brigadier Major General
Lieutenant General General
Infantry troops are the backbone of the Austrian Armed Forces.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Fighting in urban terrain High alpine training
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Infantry with ’Pandur’ APC Squad leader
Special Forces (Jagdkommando)
A variety of impressions from Special Forces training.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Parachuting Sniper
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Special Forces squad waiting
for a helicopter lift
Combat diver
Fighting Vehicles
Tanks and fighting vehicles in use.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Tank destroyer ’Jaguar’ Tank destroyer ’Kürassier’
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Infantry fighting vehicle ’Ulan’ Armored personnel carrier ’Pandur’
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Main battle tank ’Leopard 2A4’ Main battle tank ’Leopard 2A4’
The main weapon system of the AAF's artillery is the M-109 howitzer.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
M-109 howitzer M-109 howitzer
Images: © Bundesheer - Austrian Armed Forces
Austrian Air Force
© Bundesheer
Image: Eurofighter - © Bundesheer
Shortly before declaring neutrality on October 26, 1955, Austria formed an air arm which was tasked with defending Austria's air space. Basic flying training for the Kommando Luftstreitkräfte (Austria's aviation division and an element of the new Bundesheer «Federal Army») began in December 1955 using Yak-11 Moose and Yak-18 Max aircraft which had been abandoned, still in their crates, by retreating Soviet troops. Twenty-two Cessna L-19A Bird Dog observation and liaison aircraft were subsequently purchased under the Mutual Aid Plan for a nominal $1 from US forces based in Austria.

Today, the Luftstreitkräfte have three main tasks:
maintaining the sovereignty of its air space,
providing reconnaissance, transport, liaison and combat support for its ground forces,
acting in an emergency relief capacity both at home and abroad.
The latter ranges from search and rescue (SAR) missions after avalanches, earthquakes and floods to fire-fighting duties.
Austria's air defence system Goldhaube (Golden Hat), has been operational since 1988, at about the same time as the introduction into service of the Saab Draken. It consists of fixed radar sites and mobile radar stations. Two Saab 105s or F-5s "Tiger" are permanently held on quick reaction alert to intercept unidentified aircraft approaching the border.
© Bundesheer
Image: Air defence system "Goldhaube" - © Bundesheer
In June 1991, during the crisis in Slovenia, several airspace violations were made by Yugoslav jets. On one occasion, a Yugoslav fighter even overflew the city of Graz, which is 50km (31 miles) from the border. Following this incident, the Bundesheer was put on alert for several weeks, with anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) units positioned around the air base near Graz. There was another incident in October 1991, when two Saab 105s intercepted a JRV MiG-21 flown by a deserting Croatian pilot and accompanied him to the airport of Klagenfurt, where he landed. However, most of the unidentified traffic transpires to be airliners which have not adhered to their assigned track or time over checkpoints.
Fliegerregiment 1
Fliegerregiment 1 consists of four staffel (squadrons); the first staffel being equipped with Agusta-Bell 212s. They are used for medium transport, carrying up to 1,200kg (2,646lb) internally or externally, or 12 passengers in addition to the crew of two. The AB 212 can also be equipped with three stretchers for casualty evacuation, and with a 400 lit (88 Imp gal) water tank on a winch, they are used as fire-fighters.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
S-70 Black Hawk S-70 Black Hawk
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Pilatus PC-6 "Turbo Porter" OH-58 ’Kiowa’
Fliegerregiment 1's second and third squadrons are equipped with Agusta-Bell 206A Jet Rangers and Bell OH 58B Kiowas respectively. Although used for similar tasks (liaison use and observation), the AB 206A is also used for basic helicopter flying training while the OH-58Bs are the divisions only armed helicopters, with the ability to carry a 7.62mm six-barrel machine gun, capable of firing 4,000 rounds per minute.

Being the sole fixed wing transport squadron, the 4th Flächenstaffel is equipped with Shorts SC-7 Skyvan Series 3Ms and Pilatus PC-6/B2H2 Turbo Porters. The Skyvans, are primarily used as transport shuttles between the air bases of the Kommando Luftstreitkräfte. The Turbo Porters have a variety of duties, including transport, SAR, fire-fighting (with an 800 lit/176 Imp gal water tank), observation, target towing and paradropping.
The Ueberwachungsgeschwader is equipped with 12 F-5 "Tiger" aircraft rented from the Swiss Air Force. They are operated from the airbase in Zeltweg, Styria.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
F-5E "Tiger" II F-5E "Tiger" II
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Eurofighter Eurofighter
The Hubschraubergeschwader is based at Aigen-in-Ennstal with permanent detachments (Stützpunkte) to Klagenfurt and Schwaz/Tirol near Innsbruck. Some of the Alouettes, nicknamed Christoph, are equipped as rescue helicopters.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Alouette III Alouette III
Fliegerregiment 3
Based at the joint civil and military airport of Linz-Hörsching is Fliegerregiment 3, which incorporates two flying units, Hubschraubergeschwader 3 and the Jagdbombergeschwader. The first staffel of Hubschraubergeschwader 3 is equipped with AB 212s, while AB 204Bs make up the second squadron.
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
C-130 Hercules Agusta Bell 212
© Bundesheer © Bundesheer
Saab 105 Ö Saab 105 Ö
The Jagdbombergeschwader is equipped with Saab 105. Equipped with up to six underwing pylons, the Saab 105s can carry up to 12 75mm unguided rockets and two 30mm cannon pods or a combination of the types. For the reconnaissance role, the Saab 105s can carry a recce-pod with three daylight and two infra-red cameras. Jet training is also conducted by the Jagdbombergeschwader.
© Bundesheer
Image: Saab 105 Ö - "Tigerstaffel" - © Bundesheer
Austrian Saab 105s used to be regular guests at airshows abroad, four of them forming the demonstration team Karo-As. Although the team was disbanded in the mid-1980s, some of the aircraft still carry the Day-Glo tail from that era. Saab 105s undergo a major overhaul every 450 flying hours at the Fliegerwerft 2 at Zeltweg.
Text source in extracts:
Austrian Armed Forces
Information System by Ministry of Defence
further Information about
Austrian Armed Forces
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