Thursday, November 24, 2011

Austria To Sell, Scrap Two-Thirds of Its Tanks

VIENNA - The Austrian Army will sell, scrap or recycle two-thirds of its armored vehicles by late 2013, allowing it to save up to 15 million euros yearly, Defence Minister Norbert Darabos announced Nov. 23.
"We are getting rid of cost-intensive equipment which represents an expensive burden for the army and which we no longer need," Darabos said.
The number of armored vehicles, which has already seen cuts over the past four years, will shrink to 389 by the end of 2013, from 1,147.
Several models, including more than 400 Saurers dating back to the 1960s, will be scrapped entirely, while others will be recycled as spare parts for other vehicles.
Further models, such as the more modern Leopard tanks, will be put up for sale. Several governments and firms have already expressed interest, the defense ministry said.
The sales should help bring in 19 million euros ($25.5 million), although 2 million euros will go toward destroying ammunition.
Additionally, the army will save up to 15 million euros per year in maintenance through the cuts, according to the ministry.
"We need more than ever to adapt our capabilities to realistic deployment scenarios," Darabos said.
Where Austria once stood with its back against the Iron Curtain, with the prospect of a conventional war with the Soviet bloc on its doorstep, now "we face cyber threats, terrorist threats: these are the challenges of the future," he said.

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