The Austrian Air Force is considering the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as a potential replacement for its fleet of Eurofighter Typhoons in the post-2030 timeframe.
The Austrian Air Force (Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte: OL) is considering the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II as a potential replacement for its fleet of Eurofighter Typhoons in the post-2030 timeframe.
According to Janes, the armament-directorate of the Austrian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been tasked with collating information, enabling a valuation assessment on a possible acquisition of the fifth-generation ‘stealth fighter’ in the next decade following publication on Oct. 7, 2022 of the EUR16 billion (USD15.5 billion) defence budget through to 2027.
Even though the details remain vague, the F-35 evaluation is to be undertaken under plans to determine a successor platform to the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft fielded by the service, that are due to receive upgrades under the latest budget to take them through to the early 2030s.
Having received 15 Typhoons in a limited Tranche 1 standard from 2007, Eurofighter and the OL are looking at enhancement options that might include integration of the Rafael Litening-5 targeting pod for night-time air-to-air identification of target aircraft, Raytheon AIM-120-C8 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) for a near-beyond-visual-range (BVR) capability, and missile-approach warning systems. Reports of the addition of three ex-German two-seater aircraft to the fleet were not confirmed in the budget.
In 2003 Austria ordered 18 Eurofighter jets but reduced the order to 15 in 2007.
In July 2017 the country started to think to end its Eurofighter programme early and replacing it with a cheaper alternative fleet of aircraft bought or leased from another government.
Austria in fact estimated that the continued use of the planes for 30 years – the normal life span of such jets – would cost up to 5 billion euros ($6.24 billion), largely for maintenance.
As already reported, in 2020 Klaudia Tanner, Austria’s Defense Minister, said that she officially responded to Indonesia’s request to buy 15 Eurofighters from her country adding that she had directed the General Staff to prepare for negotiations with Jakarta.
However, the deal was never signed and Indonesia never received Austrian Eurofighters.
Photo credit: Bundesheer