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Austria to procure additional Black Hawk helicopters.

| 2018

By Nathan Gain

The Austrian Armed Forces will receive an undisclosed extra budget to procure three additional S-70A Black Hawk helicopters, the country's MoD announced today on its website. This follow-on order is part of a potential €400 million "Civil Protection Package" approved today by the ÖVP-FPÖ government, Austrian newspapers confirmed.

Austria to procure additional Black Hawkelicopter 001 A Bundesheer S-70A Black Hawk multirole helicopter
(Credit: Bundesheer)

With this three additional choppers, the Austrian Air Force Medium Transport Helicopter Squadron, based in Langenlebarn Air Base, will be increased to 12 S-70A helicopters. "For the first time, you can reach a full squadron capability," said a Defense Ministry spokesman. 

The Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk is highly reliable for missions in high altitude and bad weather conditions, notably thanks to the de-icing system fitted on main and tail rotors. Powered by two T700-GE-701D (1940 HP) engines, it has a maximum speed of 360 km/h and an operational ceiling of 3,600m. It can carry up to 20 persons in a range of 500 km, or 1,600 km with additional fuel tanks. 

In addition to the purchase of more Black Hawks, the Austrian government also agreed to launch the acquisition process of 12 new light multi-purpose helicopters to replace an aged fleet of 21 Alouette IIIs, which are used by the Austrian Armed Forces since 1968.

Although the old Alouettes won't be grounded before 2023, the Austrian military is facing are with providing the necessary spare parts, which are becoming scarce, as few armies in the world still fly this helicopter. 

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