Military of Austria
Overview
 
The Österreichisches Bundesheer (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 for "Austrian Federal Army", officially referred to as the Austrian Armed Forces in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

), is the name for the military of the Republic of Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

The main branches are the Land Forces Command (Kommando Landstreitkräfte; KdoLaSK), Air Command
Austrian Air Force
The Austrian Air Force is a component part of the Austrian armed forces .-History:The Austrian Air Force was formed in May 1955 by the victorious Allied powers, subject to restrictions on its use of guided missiles...

 (Kommando Luftstreitkräfte; KdoLuSK), Mission Support (Kommando Einsatzunterstützung; KdoEU), International Missions (Kommando Internationale Einsätze; KdoIE), Command Support (Kommando Führungsunterstützung; KdoFüU) and Special Forces Command (Kommando Spezialeinsatzkräfte; KdoSEK).

Austria, a landlocked country, today has no navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

; in the period 1958 to 2006 however the Austrian army operated a naval squadron of patrol boats on the River Danube.
Encyclopedia
The Österreichisches Bundesheer (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 for "Austrian Federal Army", officially referred to as the Austrian Armed Forces in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

), is the name for the military of the Republic of Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

.

The main branches are the Land Forces Command (Kommando Landstreitkräfte; KdoLaSK), Air Command
Austrian Air Force
The Austrian Air Force is a component part of the Austrian armed forces .-History:The Austrian Air Force was formed in May 1955 by the victorious Allied powers, subject to restrictions on its use of guided missiles...

 (Kommando Luftstreitkräfte; KdoLuSK), Mission Support (Kommando Einsatzunterstützung; KdoEU), International Missions (Kommando Internationale Einsätze; KdoIE), Command Support (Kommando Führungsunterstützung; KdoFüU) and Special Forces Command (Kommando Spezialeinsatzkräfte; KdoSEK).

Austria, a landlocked country, today has no navy
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

; in the period 1958 to 2006 however the Austrian army operated a naval squadron of patrol boats on the River Danube. That duty has been assumed by the Bundespolizei (Federal Police
Federal Police (Austria)
The Federal Police is the law enforcement agency of Austria. The Austrian Federal Police were formed in July 2005 as one formal unit of police. Before 2005 the police system operated the Gendarmerie for most of the country, and the Polizei in the heavy city and urban areas such as Vienna,...

).

History

Between 1918 and 1921, the Austrian semi-regular army was called Volkswehr ("People's Defence"), and fought against Yugoslavian
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

 army units occupying parts of Carinthia
Carinthia (state)
Carinthia is the southernmost Austrian state or Land. Situated within the Eastern Alps it is chiefly noted for its mountains and lakes.The main language is German. Its regional dialects belong to the Southern Austro-Bavarian group...

. It has been known as "Bundesheer" since then, except when Austria was a part of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 (1938–1945; see Anschluss
Anschluss
The Anschluss , also known as the ', was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938....

). The Austrian Army did develop a defense plan in 1938 against Germany, but politics prevented it from being implemented.

In 1955, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 declared its Everlasting Neutrality
Neutral country
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 and made neutrality a constitutional law. The Austrian Military's main purpose since then has been the protection of Austria's neutrality.

With the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, the Austrian military have increasingly assisted the border police in controlling the influx of illegal immigrants through Austrian borders. The war
Yugoslav wars
The Yugoslav Wars were a series of wars, fought throughout the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 1995. The wars were complex: characterized by bitter ethnic conflicts among the peoples of the former Yugoslavia, mostly between Serbs on the one side and Croats and Bosniaks on the other; but also...

 in the neighbouring Balkans resulted in the lifting of the restrictions on the range of weaponry of the Austrian military that had been imposed by a 1955 international treaty.

Mission

The main constitutional tasks of today's Austrian military are:
  • to protect the constitutionally established institutions and the population's democratic freedoms.
  • to maintain order and security inside the country.
  • to render assistance in the case of natural catastrophes and disasters of exceptional magnitude.

Organization

Under the constitution, the president is the nominal commander in chief of the armed forces. In reality, the chancellor has operational authority, exercised through the minister for national defense. The chancellor also chairs the National Defense Council, which has as its members a vice chairman, the minister for national defense, an appointee of this minister, the general troop inspector of the armed forces, and a parliamentary representative. The minister for national defense, acting in cooperation with the minister for interior, coordinates the work of the four major committees under the National Defense Council: the Military Defense Committee; the Civil Defense Committee; the Economic Defense Committee; and the Psychological Defense Committee. The general troop inspector acts as the senior military adviser to the minister for national defense, assists the minister in the exercise of his authority, and, as head of the general staff, is responsible for planning. However, the army commander exercises direct operational control of the Bundesheer in both peacetime and wartime.

Article 79 of the constitution, as amended in 1985, states that the army is entrusted with the military defense of the country. Insofar as the legally constituted civil authority requests its cooperation, the army is further charged with protecting constitutional institutions and their capacity to act, as well as the democratic freedoms of the inhabitants; maintaining order and security in the interior; and rendering aid in disasters and mishaps of extraordinary scope. In administering the armed forces, the Ministry for National Defense is organized into four principal sections and the inspectorate general: Section I deals with legal and legislative matters; Section II handles personnel and recruitment matters, including discipline and grievances; Section III is concerned with troop command, schools, and other facilities, and it also comprises departments G-1 through G-5 as well as a separate department for air operations; and Section IV deals with procurement and supply, quartermaster matters, armaments, and ordnance (see fig. 12).

The general troop inspectorate is a separate section of the ministry with responsibility for coordination and fulfillment of the missions of the armed forces. It encompasses a general staff department, an attaché department, and planning and inspection groups.

The armed forces consist solely of the army, of which the air force is considered a constituent part. As of 1993, the total active complement of the armed forces was 52,000, of whom 20,000 to 30,000 were conscripts undergoing training of six to eight months. The army had 46,000 personnel on active duty (including an estimated 19,500 conscripts), and the air force had 6,000 personnel (2,400 conscripts).

Former structure

Under the area defense strategy, which had determined the army's organizational structure until 1993, the army was divided into three principal elements: the standing alert force (Bereitschaftstruppe) of active units, including the air division; the mobile militia (Mobile Landwehr), organized as eight mechanized reserve brigades to be deployed to key danger spots in the event of mobilization; and the stationary militia (Raumgebundene Landwehr) of twenty-six reserve infantry regiments organized for territorial defense. Both the mobile militia and the stationary militia were brought up to strength only in times of mobilization or during periods allotted for refresher training, usually three weeks in June. Training of conscripts was conducted by twenty-eight training and equipment-holding regiments (Landwehrstammregimenten). On mobilization, these regiments would disband, with their cadre reassigned to lead reserve units or form replacement regiments and battalions.

At the army level were a headquarters, guard, and special forces battalions and an artillery battalion at cadre strength. Two corps headquarters, one in the east at Graz and one in the west at Salzburg, would, on mobilization, command the provincially organized units in their respective zones. Each corps included artillery, antitank, antiaircraft, and engineering battalions and a logistics regiment, all on a cadre basis.

Each of the nine provincial military commands supervised the training and maintenance activities of their training and equipment-holding regiments. On mobilization, these nine commands would convert to a divisional headquarters commanding mobile militia, stationary militia, and other independent units.

The only active units immediately available in an emergency were those of the standing alert force of some 15,000 career soldiers supplemented by eight-month conscripts. The force was organized as a mechanized division consisting of three armored infantry brigades. Each brigade was composed of one tank battalion, one mechanized infantry battalion, and one selfpropelled artillery battalion. Two of the brigades had antitank battalions equipped with self-propelled weapons. The divisional headquarters was at Baden near Vienna; the three brigades were based in separate locations, also in the northeast of the country.

New structure

The New Army Structure—the reorganization plan announced in late 1991 and scheduled to be in place sometime in 1995—replaces the previous two-corps structure with one of three corps. The new corps is headquartered at Baden, with responsibility for the two northeastern provinces of Lower Austria and Upper Austria. Army headquarters will be eliminated, as will the divisional structure for the three standing brigades. The three corps—in effect, regional commands—will be directly subordinate to the general troop inspector. The three mechanized brigades will be placed directly under the new Third Corps at Baden, although in the future one brigade may be assigned to each of the three corps. The mobile militia will be reduced from eight to six mechanized brigades. Each of the nine provincial commands will have at least one militia regiment of two to six battalions as well as local defense companies.

Total personnel strength—both standing forces and reserves—is to be materially contracted under the new plan. The fully mobilized army will decline in strength from 200,000 to 120,000. The standing alert force will be reduced from 15,000 to 10,000. Reaction time is to be radically shortened so that part of the standing alert force can be deployed within hours to a crisis zone (for example, one adjacent to the border with Slovenia). A task force ready for immediate deployment will be maintained by one of the mechanized brigades on a rotational basis. Separate militia training companies to which all conscripts are assigned will be dismantled; in the future, conscripts will undergo basic training within their mobilization companies. Conscripts in the final stages of their training could supplement the standing forces by being poised for operational deployment at short notice.

Personnel, Conscription, Training, and Reserves

Until 1971 Austrian males were obligated to serve nine months in the armed forces, followed by four days of active service every two years for training and inspection. In 1971 the period of initial service was reduced to six months, followed by a total of sixty days of refresher training in the reserves. In the early 1990s, about 45,000 conscripts completed their initial military training every year, and 80,000 reservists participated in some form of exercises each year.

Reducing the mobilization strength of the army to 120,000 under the New Army Structure plan is to be accomplished in part by limiting initial training of recruits to six months, followed by reducing the period allotted for refresher training from twenty years to ten years. Each reservist is to receive training over a twelve-day period every second year during his first ten years of reserve duty, generally not extending beyond the time he reaches his mid-thirties. The reduced need for conscripts corresponds to a lower pool of young men because of a declining birth rate. The existing availability of about 40,000 fit trainees annually as of 1993 is expected to fall to barely 30,000 by the year 2000 and to 26,000 by 2015.

Conscripts can choose to serve seven months instead of six and have a shorter reserve obligation. Some may serve their full obligation of eight months at one time and have no reserve obligations, but this may occur only at the army's discretion. Under a 1974 law, conscientious objectors can be assigned work as farm laborers, medical orderlies, or other occupations in lieu of military service. Exemptions from service are liberally granted—in 1992 about 12,000 persons were exempted, a great increase over the 1991 total of 4,500. The increase occurred after a new law, valid only for 1992 and 1993, no longer required young men to present their objections to the military in a credible way. Previously, that had not been the case. In 1990, for example, two young men rejected by the alternate service commission on the grounds that they did not present their beliefs in a credible manner were sentenced to prison terms of three months and one month, respectively.

Conscripts usually attain the rank of private first class by the completion of initial training. Those with leadership potential may serve a longer period to obtain noncommissioned officer (NCO) status in the militia. Those volunteering for the career service can, after three to four years, apply to attend the NCO academy and later a senior NCO course to qualify as warrant officers. Both regular and militia officer candidates undergo a one-year program of basic training. After a further three years, regular officer candidates attending the military academy at Wiener Neustadt and militia officer candidates undergoing periodic intensified refresher training qualify as second lieutenants. The reserve obligation of conscripts generally ends by the time they reach their mid-thirties; NCOs and officers usually end their reserve status at a later age depending on their rank and specialization. By the early 1990s, some 1.3 million men had completed their initial service and refresher training obligations and had no further active-duty commitment.

The military personnel system is an integral part of a comprehensive civil service system. The nine officer ranks from officer candidate through general correspond to grades I through IX of the civil service system. The highest grade, IX, may be occupied by a section chief (undersecretary), a career ambassador, or a three-star general. A grade VIII position may be held by a departmental counselor, a career minister, or a brigadier general. Salary levels are the same for both civil and military personnel in the equivalent grades, although various allowances may be added, such as flight pay or hazardous-duty pay.

Promotion is not based solely on merit but on position attained, level of education, and seniority. Officers with advanced degrees (for which study at the National Defense Academy qualifies) can expect to attain grade VIII before reaching the retirement age of sixty to sixty-five. Those with a baccalaureate degree can expect to reach grade VII (colonel), and those without university training will retire as captains or majors. Career NCOs form part of the same comprehensive personnel structure. It is common for NCOs to transfer at some stage in their careers to civilian status at the equivalent grade, either in the Ministry for National Defense or in the police or prison services after further training.

The system of promotion in the Austrian military, which offers no incentive for early retirement, means that the military is top-heavy with senior officers. The New Army Structure, which is intended to result in many fewer active-duty and reserve commands, compounds the difficulty. Personnel changes can be implemented only gradually, as the surplus of officers shrinks by attrition. As of 1991, the army had four officers of general rank, fifty-nine at the rank of brigadier general (one star), 155 colonels, and 254 lieutenant colonels. The education of career officers is conducted at the Maria Theresa Military Academy at Wiener Neustadt, thirty kilometers south of Vienna, which was founded in 1752. Young men who have completed their university entrance requirements are eligible to compete for places. The three-year course graduated 212 students in 1990. At the National Defense Academy in Vienna, which has a curriculum comparable to those of the National Defense University and the Army War College in the United States, operational and troop commanders of fieldgrade rank study for three years in preparation for general staff and command positions. The NCO school is located at Enns near Linz. Troop schools provide continuous specialized courses for officers and NCOs in artillery, air defense, armor, combat engineering, communications, and the like.

Women have never been accepted for service in the Austrian armed forces. In a public opinion survey in 1988, about 66 percent of those polled approved of opening the military to voluntary service by women; only 9 percent favored obligatory service. Although consideration had been given to opening certain specialties to female volunteers, the question is apparently in abeyance in an army already facing retrenchment.

Air Division

Austria's air force (Fliegerdivision) is headquartered at Tulln-Langenlebarn Air Base twenty-five kilometers northwest of Vienna. The air force has as its missions the defense of Austrian airspace, tactical support of Austrian ground forces, reconnaissance and military transport, and search-and-rescue support when requested by civil authorities.

Until 1985, when the first of twenty-four Saab J-35Ö Drakens were delivered, the country had remained essentially without the capacity to contest violations of its airspace. The Drakens, reconditioned after having served the Swedish Air Force
Swedish Air Force
The Swedish Air Force is the air force branch of the Swedish Armed Forces.-History:The Swedish Air Force was created on July 1, 1926 when the aircraft units of the Army and Navy were merged. Because of the escalating international tension during the 1930s the Air Force was reorganized and expanded...

 since the early 1960s, are armed only with a cannon, in accordance with the restrictions on missiles in the State Treaty of 1955. However, following Austria's revised interpretation of its obligations under the treaty, a decision was made in 1993 to procure Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. The first of these missiles will be purchased used from the Swedish air force. A higher performance model of the Sidewinder were purchased directly from the United States; deliveries began in 1995. French Mistral surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) were purchased to add ground-based protection against air attack. The first of the French missiles arrived in Austria in 1993; final deliveries were concluded in 1996.

Phaseout of the Drakens is scheduled to begin about 1995, and studies were under way to select a replacement, probably one that can be configured for both air defense and ground support missions. Possible replacements for the Draken are the United States F-16 and F-18. In addition to the two squadrons of Drakens, the air force has thirty-one Saab 105Oe fighters available for reconnaissance and close air support of ground troops; however, eight Saabs, borrowed from the combat squadrons, are regularly employed as jet conversion trainers. Acquired in 1970-72 after service in the Swedish air force, the subsonic Saabs are of limited value in a combat role. The helicopter fleet includes Agusta-Bell (AB) 204s (mainly medical evacuation), AB206s (training and liaison), and AB-212s (used by air-mobile troops and for light transport). French Alouettes are available for search-and-rescue tasks, including high mountain operations. The Bell OH-58 Kiowa, a scout helicopter, is mounted with a rapid-firing machine gun, but the air force lacks a true attack helicopter. Most of the helicopters, except the AB-212s, are becoming obsolete (see table 16, Appendix).

The air transport fleet is seriously deficient, a fact underscored by its inability to support the armed forces in their UN peacekeeping and humanitarian activities. The air force has at its disposal two Short Skyvans and twelve Pilatus PC-6s that can handle only light cargoes. Among air force priorities—unfulfilled because of budgetary constraints—is the procurement of three to six medium-transport aircraft.

The air force is organized into a division of three flying regiments and one radar (air defense) regiment.

Air Regiment I at Tulln-Langenlebarn consists of the light transport squadron plus one helicopter wing of AB-206s and OH-58s.

Air Regiment II at Graz-Thalerhof, Aigen in Ennstal, and Zeltweg consists of the air interceptor wing of Drakens and a wing of two Alouette helicopter squadrons.

Air Regiment III at Linz-Hörsching consists of the fighter-bomber wing of Saab 105Oes and a helicopter wing of AB204s and AB-212s.

An air defense battalion equipped with 20mm and 35mm antiaircraft guns and a variety of radar systems is attached to each air regiment.

The Central Flying School at Zeltweg is equipped with Saab 91D Safirs and Saab 105Oes, while transport pilots train on PC7s . Austrian pilots are sent to northern Sweden for training in operation of the Drakens.

Appearance

The service uniform of the Austrian army is olive drab, the dress uniform is grey; for formal occasions a white uniform may be worn. The air force uniform is identical, with the addition of wings worn on the right jacket breast—gold for officers and silver for enlisted personnel. Branches of service are identified by beret colors: scarlet for the honour Guard; green for infantry; black for armor; cherry for air force; and dark blue for quartermaster. Insignia of rank are worn on the jacket lapel of the dress uniform (silver stars on a green or gold shield) and on the epaulets of the field uniform (white, silver or gold stars on a olive drab field).

Rank

Of the eight enlisted ranks, only a sergeant (Wachtmeister) or above is considered an NCO. There are two warrant officer ranks—Offiziersstellvertreter and Vizeleutnant. The lowest commissioned rank of officer candidate (Fähnrich)--is held by cadets at the military academy and by reserve officers in training for the rank second lieutenant. To maintain conformity with grade levels in the civil service, there are only two ranks of general in the personnel system—brigadier general (one star) and general lieutenant (three stars). However, the ranks of major general (two stars) and full general (equivalent to four stars) are accorded to officers holding particular military commands.

Equipment

The Austrian military has a wide variety of equipment. Recently, Austria has spent considerable amounts of money modernizing its military arsenal. Leopard 2
Leopard 2
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve...

 main battle tanks, Ulan
ASCOD AFV
The ASCOD armoured fighting vehicle family is the product of a cooperation agreement between Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG and Spanish Santa Bárbara Sistemas The ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Development) armoured fighting vehicle family is the product of a cooperation agreement between...

 and Pandur
Pandur 8X8 APC
The Pandur II 8x8 is an improved modular all-wheel-drive version of the Pandur 6x6 APC wheeled armoured vehicle. It was developed as a private venture by the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge and is currently in production for the Portuguese Armed Forces...

 infantry fighting vehicle
Infantry fighting vehicle
An infantry fighting vehicle , also known as a mechanized infantry combat vehicle , is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to carry infantry into battle and provide fire support for them...

s, C-130 Hercules
C-130 Hercules
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin. Capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings, the C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport...

 transport planes, S-70 Black Hawk utility helicopters, and Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

 multi-purpose combat aircraft have been purchased, along with new helicopters to replace the inadequate ones used after the 1999 Galtür Avalanche
Galtür Avalanche
The Galtür Avalanche was an avalanche that occurred on February 23, 1999 in the Alpine village of Galtür, Austria. The avalanche killed 31 people and is considered the worst Alpine avalanche in 40 years. Three major weather systems originating from the Atlantic accounted for large snow falls...

.

Austria's current equipment includes:

Infantry weapons

  • Glock 17
    Glock pistol
    The Glock pistol, sometimes referred to by the manufacturer as Glock "Safe Action" Pistol, is a series of semi-automatic pistols designed and produced by Glock Ges.m.b.H., located in Deutsch-Wagram, Austria. The company's founder, engineer Gaston Glock, had no experience with firearm design or...

     (Pistole 80) sidearm
  • FN FAL
    FN FAL
    The Fusil Automatique Léger or FAL is a self-loading, selective fire battle rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal . During the Cold War it was adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries, with the notable exception of the United States...

     (StG 58) service rifle, only used by Austrian Guard Company
  • Steyr AUG
    Steyr AUG
    The AUG is an Austrian bullpup 5.56mm assault rifle, designed in the early 1970s by Steyr Mannlicher GmbH & Co KG . The AUG was adopted by the Austrian Army as the StG 77 in 1977, where it replaced the 7.62mm StG 58 automatic rifle...

     (StG 77) service rifle
  • Steyr SSG 69
    Steyr SSG 69
    The SSG 69 is a bolt-action sniper rifle produced by Steyr Mannlicher and serves as the standard sniper rifle for the Austrian Army....

     sniper rifle
  • MG 74 machine gun
  • FN MAG
    FN MAG
    The FN MAG is a Belgian 7.62 mm general-purpose machine gun, designed in the early 1950s at Fabrique Nationale by Ernest Vervier. It has been used by more than 80 countries, and it has been made under licence in countries such as Argentina, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the...

     machine gun (only used on Leopard 2A4
    Leopard 2
    The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve...

     tanks, ULAN tanks and Black Hawk helicopters)
  • Browning M2 (üsMG M2) heavy machine gun
  • BILL 1 Anti-tank guided weapon
    BILL 1 Anti-tank guided weapon
    The RBS 56 BILL is a Swedish manportable SACLOS anti-tank missile developed by AB Bofors. Development began in 1979 and entered production in 1985. BILL stands for . By 1996 15,000 missiles had been produced and supplied to the Swedish and Austrian armies. Between 1996 and 1997 Brazil received a...

     (PAL 2000 "Bill")
  • Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
    Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
    The Carl Gustav is the common name for the 84 mm man-portable reusable multi-role recoilless rifle produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics in Sweden...

     (PAR 66/79)
  • L16 81mm Mortar
    L16 81mm Mortar
    The United Kingdom's L16 81 mm mortar is the standard mortar used by the British armed forces. It originated as a joint design by UK and Canada. The version produced and used by Australia is named the F2 81mm Mortar, whilst the version used by the U.S...

     (mGrW 82)
  • Hirtenberger M12-1111 120mm heavy mortar (GrW 86)

Only used by Special Forces:
  • Steyr TMP
    Steyr TMP
    The Steyr TMP is a select-fire 9x19mm Parabellum caliber machine pistol manufactured by Steyr Mannlicher of Austria. The Magazines come in 15, 20, or 30 round detachable box types. A suppressor can also be fitted...

     submachine gun
  • FN P90
    FN P90
    The FN P90 is a selective fire personal defense weapon designed and manufactured by FN Herstal in Belgium. The P90's name is taken from 1990, the year it was introduced...

     submachine gun
  • Remington 870
    Remington 870
    The Remington Model 870 is a U.S.-made pump-action shotgun manufactured by Remington Arms Company, Inc. It is widely used by the public for sport shooting, hunting, and self-defense. It is also commonly used by law enforcement and military organizations worldwide.-Development:The Remington 870 was...

     shotgun
  • Steyr HS .50
    Steyr HS .50
    The Steyr HS .50 is a .50 BMG single-shot anti-materiel sniper rifle manufactured by Steyr Mannlicher.- Design and features :The Steyr HS .50 is a single-shot bolt action rifle. It does not have a magazine so each round has to be loaded directly into the ejection port and is pushed into the chamber...

     anti-materiel rifle
  • Barrett M95
    Barrett M95
    The Barrett M95 is a bolt-action sniper rifle chambered in .50 BMG , and manufactured by Barrett Firearms Company.-Overview:The M95 is an improved version of the earlier Barrett M90. It is a bolt-action sniper rifle in a bullpup design...

     anti-materiel rifle

Vehicles

  • Leopard 2
    Leopard 2
    The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve...

    A4 main battle tank
    Main battle tank
    A main battle tank , also known as a battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the heavy direct fire role of many modern armies. They were originally conceived to replace the light, medium, heavy and super-heavy tanks. Development was spurred onwards in the Cold War with the development...

    s - 114
  • SK-105 Kürassier
    SK-105 Kurassier
    The SK-105 Kürassier is an Austrian light tank armed with a rifled 105 mm gun in an oscillating turret. It is estimated that over 700 have been produced.-History:...

     tank destroyer
    Tank destroyer
    A tank destroyer is a type of armored fighting vehicle armed with a gun or missile launcher, and is designed specifically to engage enemy armored vehicles...

    s - 48 (+71 in storage)
  • ULAN
    ASCOD AFV
    The ASCOD armoured fighting vehicle family is the product of a cooperation agreement between Austrian Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG and Spanish Santa Bárbara Sistemas The ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperation Development) armoured fighting vehicle family is the product of a cooperation agreement between...

     infantry fighting vehicle
    Infantry fighting vehicle
    An infantry fighting vehicle , also known as a mechanized infantry combat vehicle , is a type of armoured fighting vehicle used to carry infantry into battle and provide fire support for them...

    s - 112
  • Schützenpanzer A1
    Saurer 4K 4FA
    The Saurer 4K 4FA is an Austrian armoured personnel carrier with caterpillar tracks. It was later replaced by the Steyr 4K 7FA G 127. It went into production in 1961. In 1956, Osterreichische Saurer-Werke of Vienna started development of an armoured personnel carrier...

     armored personnel carriers - 261 (+ 106 in storage)
  • Pandur I
    Pandur 6X6 APC
    The Pandur is an APC developed and produced by the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge . It was developed during the 1980s as a private venture, based in spanish BMR-600 design...

     armored personnel carriers - 71
  • Dingo 2
    ATF Dingo
    The ATF Dingo is a German heavily armored military infantry mobility vehicle based on a Unimog chassis with a V-hull design, produced by the company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann . It is designed to withstand land mines, rifle fire, artillery fragments and NBC-threats. ATF stands for...

     protected vehicles - 35
  • Iveco LMV
    Iveco LMV
    Iveco LMV is a 4WD tactical vehicle developed by Iveco, and in service with several countries.After its adoption by the Italian Army under the name VTLM Lince , it won the “FCLV” competition of the British Army as the Panther and has been adopted by the armies of Belgium, Croatia, Norway, Russia...

     - 150
  • Puch G 4x4
    Mercedes-Benz G-Class
    The original 460-series Geländewagen went on sale for civilian buyers in 1979, after having debuted in February of that year. It was offered with two wheelbases, a short wheelbase of 2,400 mm and a long one of 2,850 mm. One could choose between three body styles: A two-door short...

  • Pinzgauer
    Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle
    The Pinzgauer is a family of high-mobility all-terrain 4WD and 6WD military utility vehicles. They were manufactured in Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom, by BAE Systems Land & Armaments. The vehicle was originally developed in the late 1960s by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Graz, Austria, and was named...

  • M109 A2/A5Ö
    M109 howitzer
    The M109 is an American-made self-propelled 155 mm howitzer, first introduced in the early 1960s. It was upgraded a number of times to today's M109A6 Paladin...

     self-propelled artillery - 80
  • Bergepanzer M 88A1 armoured recovery vehicle
  • Bergepanzer Greif armoured recovery vehicle
  • M578 Light Recovery Vehicle
    M578 Light Recovery Vehicle
    M578 Light Recovery Vehicle was a US Cold War era armored recovery vehicle. The M578 utilized the same chassis as M107 Self-Propelled Gun and M110 Self-Propelled Howitzer. The M578 provided maintenance support to mechanized infantry and artillery units...

  • Pionierpanzer A1 armoured engineer vehicle
  • Bandvagn 206
    Bandvagn 206
    Bandvagn 206 is a tracked articulated, all-terrain carrier developed by Hägglunds for the Swedish Army. It consists of two units, with all four tracks powered...

     tracked articulated, all-terrain carrier
  • Unimog
    Unimog
    Unimog is a range of multi-purpose auto four wheel drive medium trucks produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The name Unimog is pronounced in German and is an acronym for the German "UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät", Gerät being the German word for machine or device...

     - 268
  • Steyr
    Steyr
    Steyr is a town, located in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria. The town is situated at the confluence of the rivers Steyr and Enns. Steyr is Austria's 12th most populated town and simultaneously the 3rd largest town in Upper Austria....

     12M18 truck
    Truck
    A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

     - 1,000
  • ÖAF
    ÖAF
    ÖAF is an initialism for Österreichische Automobil-Fabrik, previously known as Österreichische Austro-Fiat, an Austrian car and truck manufacturer.-Austro-Fiat:...

     SLKW truck
    Truck
    A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...


Air defence systems

  • 20 mm Fliegerabwehrkanone 65/68 (FlAK 65/68)
  • Zwillingsflugabwehrkanonen 35 mm (ZFlAK 85)
    Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon
    The Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon is a towed anti-aircraft gun made by Oerlikon Contraves . The system was originally designated as 2 ZLA/353 ML but this was later changed to GDF-001...

  • Mistral missile
    Mistral missile
    Mistral is an infrared homing surface-to-air missile manufactured by the European multinational company MBDA missile systems . Based on the French SATCP , the portable missile later to become the Mistral began development in 1974...


Aircraft

  • Eurofighter Typhoon
    Eurofighter Typhoon
    The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

     multi-role fighters - 15
  • Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft - 3
  • Saab 105
    Saab 105
    -See also:-Bibliography:* Hewson, Robert. "Saab 105/Sk60 Variant Briefing". World Air Power Journal, Volume 23 Winter 1995. London:Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1 874023 64 6. ISSN 0959-7050. pp. 40—49....

     training aircraft - 28
  • Pilatus PC-6B Porter
    Pilatus PC-6
    |-See also:-References:* Lambert, Mark. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1993–1994. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Data Division, 1993. ISBN 0 7106 1066 1.* Taylor, John W. R. Janes's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1965....

     transport aircraft - 13
  • Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer
    Pilatus PC-7
    The Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer is a low-wing tandem-seat training aircraft, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The aircraft is capable of all basic training functions including aerobatics, instrument, tactical and night flying. It has been selected by more than twenty air forces as...

     training aircraft - 16
  • Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk transport helicopters - 9
  • Bell OH-58 Kiowa Reconnaissance helicopters - 11
  • Agusta Bell 212 Twin Huey
    UH-1N Twin Huey
    The Bell UH-1N Twin Huey is a medium military helicopter that first flew in April, 1969. The UH-1N has a fifteen seat configuration, with one pilot and fourteen passengers. In cargo configuration the UH-1N has an internal capacity of 220 ft³ . An external load of 5,000 lb can be carried...

     transport helicopters - 23
  • Alouette helicopters - 24

Commissioned Officers: (Offiziere)

Insignia
Title Officer Cadet
Officer Cadet
Officer cadet is a rank held by military and merchant navy cadets during their training to become commissioned officers and merchant navy officers, respectively. The term officer trainee is used interchangeably in some countries...

Second Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

First Lieutenant
First Lieutenant
First lieutenant is a military rank and, in some forces, an appointment.The rank of lieutenant has different meanings in different military formations , but the majority of cases it is common for it to be sub-divided into a senior and junior rank...

Captain Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

Brigadier General
Brigadier General
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000...

Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of Lieutenant General was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a Captain General....

General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

Ranks in Austria Fähnrich Leutnant Oberleutnant Hauptmann Major Oberstleutnant Oberst Brigadier Generalmajor Generalleutnant General
NATO Code OF-D OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9

Non-Commissioned Officers: (Unteroffiziere)

Insignia
Title Sergeant
Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

Master Sergeant
Master Sergeant
A master sergeant is the military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.-Israel Defense Forces:Rav samal rishoninsignia IDF...

Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant
Staff sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in several countries.The origin of the name is that they were part of the staff of a British army regiment and paid at that level rather than as a member of a battalion or company.-Australia:...

Warrant Officer III Warrant Officer II Warrant Officer I
Warrant Officer
A warrant officer is an officer in a military organization who is designated an officer by a warrant, as distinguished from a commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission, or from non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer by virtue of seniority.The rank was first...

Ranks in Austria Wachtmeister Oberwachtmeister Stabswachtmeister Oberstabswachtmeister Offiziersstellvertreter Vizeleutnant
NATO Code OR-5 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9

Enlisted With Rank: (Chargen)

Insignia
Title Lance Corporal
Lance Corporal
Lance corporal is a military rank, used by many armed forces worldwide, and also by some police forces and other uniformed organizations. It is below the rank of corporal, and is typically the lowest non-commissioned officer, usually equivalent to the NATO Rank Grade OR-3.- Etymology :The presumed...

Corporal
Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

Master Corporal
Master Corporal
Master Corporal , in the Canadian Forces and the Royal Canadian Army Cadets is an appointment of the rank of Corporal in the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Airforce...

Ranks in Austria Gefreiter Korporal Zugsführer
NATO Code OR-2 OR-3 OR-4

Enlisted Without Rank: (Rekrut)

Insignia
Title Private
Private (rank)
A Private is a soldier of the lowest military rank .In modern military parlance, 'Private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of, rare, rapid career...

Rank in Austria Rekrut
NATO Code OR-1

International operations

Currently (August 10, 2009) there are Bundesheer forces in:
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

    • EUFOR (former SFOR
      SFOR
      The Stabilisation Force was a NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina which was tasked with upholding the Dayton Agreement. It replaced the previous force IFOR...

      )
    • 345 personnel
    • since 2 December 2004 under European Union
      European Union
      The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

       Command

  • Golan Heights
    • United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone
      United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone
      The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone was established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 350 on 31 May 1974, to implement Resolution 338 which called for an immediate ceasefire and implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.The resolution was passed...

       (UNDOF)
    • 379 personnel

  • Kosovo
    Kosovo
    Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

    • KFOR
    • 429 personnel


In March 2001 three Austrian military personnel were serving as part of ISAF
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

.

Traditions

Some of the traditions of the old Austro-Hungarian Army continue to be carried on in Bundesheer. For example, the most famous regiment in the Bundesheer is the "Hoch und Deutschmeister Regiment", now known as Jägerbataillon Wien 1 based in "Maria Theresien Kaserne", named after Empress Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

. Also nearly every other regiment of the Bundesheer carries on traditions of the famous Austro-Hungarian regiments like "Kaiserjäger", "Rainer", etc.

Austrian Special Operations Forces

The Jagdkommando (lit. Hunting Command) is the Austrian Armed Forces' Special Operations
Special operations
Special operations are military operations that are considered "special" .Special operations are typically performed independently or in conjunction with conventional military operations. The primary goal is to achieve a political or military objective where a conventional force requirement does...

 group. The duties of this elite unit match those of its foreign counterparts, such as the United States Army Special Forces, being amongst others Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 and counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

. Jagdkommando soldiers are highly trained professionals whose thorough and rigorous training enables them to take over when tasks or situations outgrow the capabilities and specialisation of conventional units.

Naval Squadron (1958-2006)

In 1958 the patrol boat RPC Oberst Brecht was commissioned as a naval squadron of the Army to patrol
Patrol
A patrol is commonly a group of personnel, such as police officers or soldiers, that are assigned to monitor a specific geographic area.- Military :...

 the Danube in protection of the country's neutrality. The larger vessel RPB Niederösterreich was also commissioned 12 years later. The squadron comprised two officers and thirty men. The company which built the vessels closed in 1994. With the fall of Communism and the inability to maintain and repair the vessels, the squadron was disbanded in 2006.

See also

  • Jagdkommando
    Jagdkommando
    The Jagdkommando is the Austrian Armed Forces' Special Operations group. The duties of this elite unit match those of its foreign counterparts, such as the United States Army Special Forces, being amongst others Counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency...

  • Austrian air defense
    Austrian air defense
    Austrian air defence is undertaken by the integration of civilian and military radar systems under the authority of the Austrian Air Force.-General:...

  • Heeresgeschichtliches Museum
    Heeresgeschichtliches Museum
    The Heeresgeschichtliches Museum is a military history museum located in Vienna, Austria. It claims to be the oldest and largest purpose-built military history museum in the world...

  • Heeresnachrichtenamt
    Heeresnachrichtenamt
    Heeresnachrichtenamt is an intelligence agency of the Austrian Armed Forces. Heeresnachrichtenamt researches information on military operations and projects abroad and conducts data analysis of gathered intelligence. The service maintains branch offices in Linz, Graz and Klagenfurt....

  • Theresian Military Academy
    Theresian Military Academy
    The Theresian Military Academy is an academy, where the Austrian Armed Forces train their officers. The Academy is located in the castle of Wiener Neustadt in Lower Austria.- History :...

  • Austrian Military Police
    Austrian Military Police
    The Austrian Military Police ' is the branch within the Austrian Armed Forces tasked with law enforcement and the protection of the forces, military events and Austrian Armed Forces property....

    - Kommando Militärstreife & Militärpolizei (Kdo MilStrf&MP)

External links



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