Austrian Air Force To Phase Out Eurofighter Typhoon in 2020

eurofighter typhoon austrian air force

Austrian Air Force To Phase Out Eurofighter Typhoon

Austrian Air Force To Phase Out Eurofighter Typhoon. Austria will eliminate its fleet of 15 Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoons from 2020, amid a growing dispute with the consortium of four nations about the cost and capacity of its aircraft.

In February, Vienna initiated legal proceedings against Airbus Defense & Space and Eurofighter for alleged fraud and deception related to its acquisition of close to USD 2.28 billion for Typhoons in 2003. Airbus and the consortium deny the allegations.

But his proposed exit from Eurofighter operations since the end of the decade reveals the depth of Vienna's dissatisfaction with the Typhoon.

The Austrian Ministry of Defense describes Transit 1 Typhoons, which received between 2005-2008, as having "limited equipment and significant cost uncertainty".

He says that retention of the fleet of 15 units over the next 30 years could result in costs of between 5 and 5 billion dollars. The figures produced by a special commission appointed to examine the issue suggest that the fleet change would generate potential savings of up to USD 2.3 billion over the period up to 2049.

Currently, Austria conducts airspace monitoring missions with typhoons, as well as a fleet of 17 Saab. These, he says, will require replacement from 2020.

By aligning dates out of service, Vienna will be able to move to a single-fleet of 15 single-aircraft and three two-seat aircraft, he says.

Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil said: "Those who say yes to Austrian neutrality and sovereignty should also say yes to modern, high-performance supersonic aircraft capable of operating around the clock.

"At the same time, we have to control the increasing costs of the Eurofighter and minimize the enormous cost risks that it entails, in the interest of the taxpayer and also in relation to the other branches of the armed forces."

Austria has based its decision on a report generated by the special commission it set up in March, led by Brig. Karl Gruber, head of the air force.

The report concludes that the air force requires a new fleet of supersonic fighters, capable of operating 24 hours a day, and equipped with guided missiles and an advanced self-defense system.

He says the new aircraft must be purchased through a government-to-government agreement and could be bought or leased. A separate commission has now been set up to examine aircraft and procurement methods, says the Ministry of Defense.

Among the 19 options analyzed by the commission was the modernization of its current Typhoon fleet and the acquisition of three used two-seater vehicles.

"However, continued operations with the existing Austrian Eurofighter fleet would entail cost risks that are difficult to quantify today," says Gruber, noting the gradual replacement of the Tranche 1 examples by the partner nations of the consortium Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

"Therefore, it seems likely that there will not be a uniform Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 system in the future," he says.

Eurofighter declines to comment on the detail of the Austrian report, although it says: "This is an Austrian debate on defense purchases and we do not have to comment, but the Eurofighter works very well for all other customers."

As the Saab 105OE are also used for training missions, the report also points to Austria's possible intention to replace its Pilatus PC-7 turboprop fleet at the same time.

If PC-7s are phased out, it will seek to purchase training hours from a European partner in the short term, while long-term Vienna will improve its simulator training and purchase a "high-performance" aircraft. It is not specified whether it is jet propulsion or turboprop.