Austrian Air Force
Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte
Austrian Air Force roundel
Country Austria
TypeAir force
RoleAerial reconnaissance
Aerial warfare
Air assault
Anti-aircraft warfare
Anti-tank warfare
Close air support
Combat search and rescue
Counter-battery fire
Fire support
Indirect fire
Military logistics
Size4,300 personnel
112 aircraft
Part ofAustrian Armed Forces
HeadquartersRossauer Barracks, Vienna
Aircraft flown
FighterEurofighter Typhoon
HelicopterAW169, AB212, Sikorsky S-70, OH-58, Alouette III
TrainerDiamond DA40 NG, Pilatus PC-7
TransportC-130, Pilatus PC-6

The Austrian Air Force[1] (German: Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte, lit.'Austrian Air Combat Force') is a component part of the Austrian Armed Forces.


A number of jets used by the Austrian Air Force throughout history

See also: Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops and Austrian Air Force (1927–1938)

The Austrian Air Force in its current form was created in May 1955 by the victorious Allied powers, subject to restrictions on its use of guided missiles. The Austrian State Treaty of 1955 committed Austria to permanent neutrality.

Pilot training started out with four Yak-11 Moose and four Yak-18 Max aircraft donated by the Soviet Union, and Austria purchased further light trainer types under the Military Assistance Program. Until 1960 Austria purchased training and support aircraft under the MAP, but no modern fighter aircraft; the role of a fighter was rather inadequately filled by 30 of the already outdated Saab 29 Tunnan bought second-hand from the Swedish Air Force in the early 1960s.

From 1970, Austria purchased a total of 40 Saab 105 lightweight multi-role aircraft with the intention to deploy them in trainer, reconnaissance, interception and ground attack roles. As it became clear in the 1980s that the sub-sonic aircraft were inadequate for air combat and airspace interdiction, Austria purchased 28 reconditioned Saab 35 Draken fighter aircraft to supersede the Saab 105 as the Austrian Air Force's main interceptor in 1988. The Saab 105 remained in service as a trainer/surveillance aircraft.

Shortly after, the Draken saw their first major use in airspace interdiction starting in 1991 during the Yugoslav Wars, when Yugoslav MiG-21 fighters crossed the Austrian border without permission. In one incident on 28 June, a MiG-21 penetrated as far as Graz, causing widespread demands for action. Following repeated border crossings by armed aircraft of the Yugoslav People's Army, changes were suggested to the standing orders for aircraft armament.

Since 1955, Austria's armed forces had been forbidden to operate any guided missile system, including air-to-air missiles and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). In the post-Cold War environment, and with gun-armed aircraft a relic of a past age, the Austrian Parliament voted to amend this section of its state treaty and in January 1993 modern AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles were ordered from Sweden to arm its fighter aircraft.[2] A higher performance model of the Sidewinder was purchased directly from the United States; deliveries began in 1995. French Mistral SAMs were purchased to add ground-based protection against air attack. The first Mistrals arrived in 1993 and final deliveries were concluded in 1996.

The helicopter fleet includes Agusta-Bell (AB) 204s (mainly used for medical evacuation), AB-206s (training and liaison), and AB-212s (used by air-mobile troops and for light transport). 28 French-made Alouette IIIs are available for search-and-rescue tasks, including high mountain operations. The 12 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 24 AB-212s, are becoming obsolete. After the 1999 Galtür Avalanche, it became apparent that the Austrian Air Force's helicopter complement were too few in numbers and too limited in design. Therefore, 9 US-built UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were purchased, to be used for transportation during disasters.

In 2003 Austria's transport capability was improved when it purchased three C-130 Hercules from the Royal Air Force. These aircraft were needed for the demanding UN peacekeeping missions in which Austria played a role.[citation needed]

In 2005, the Saab Draken fleet was retired (50 years after the type first flew), to be replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon. Before the first delivery of Typhoons, 12 F-5 Tiger II were leased from Switzerland as a stopgap measure. The Eurofighter purchase was subject to controversy in Austria, and became a political football for some time, but the 15th and final aircraft was delivered on 24 September 2009.[3] As of 2017, possible corruption affairs surrounding the Eurofighter procurement are still being investigated by the Austrian parliament. In July 2017, as a result of the ongoing controversy, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced the phasing out of the Typhoon starting 2020, and its replacement by a "militarily more effective and more cost-efficient" air surveillance system.[4]


Austria's air force is divided into two brigade-level formations: the Air Surveillance Command (Kommando Luftraumüberwachung) in Salzburg tasked with the defense of the Austrian airspace and the Air Support Command (Kommando Luftunterstützung) in Hörsching Air Base with helicopters and transport planes.[5]

All personnel destined to enter service with the Air Force is trained by the Air and Air Defense Personnel School (Flieger- und Fliegerabwehrtruppenschule) based at Langenlebarn Air Base. The school is under direct command and control of the Ministry of Defense and controls two flying units:

After 50 years of service the Austrian Air Force has retired without replacement its Saab 105OE aircraft in January 2021 and has disbanded its Jet Trainer Squadron (Düsentrainerstaffel) at Linz - Hörsching Air Base, which has operated the type. The Squadron's younger pilots will re-qualify for the Eurofighter, the older pilots and the aircraft technicians will re-qualify for the AB 212 helicopters and advanced jet flying training will be outsourced to the Italian Air Force's MB.339 and T.346 jet trainers operating from Lecce - Galatina and Decimomannu.[6]

Air Force Locations

Austrian Air Force is located in Austria
Air Force Command
Air Force Command
Radar Btn
Radar Btn
Air Support Command
Air Support Command
Air Surv. Command
Air Surv. Command
Main locations of the Austrian Air Force in 2018:
Air Base
Selex RAT-31DL Radar Station
Radar Battalion with mobile radars
Command and Control Center "Basisraum"

Air Bases

Eight air bases (Fliegerhorste) are maintained by the Austrian Air Force.[7][8][9]

Vogler Air Base

Vogler Air Base, north of the town of Hörsching west of Linz, was built as a base for the German Luftwaffe 1938–1940. After the war the USAAF used the base, then named "Camp McCauley – Hörsching" and housing displaced persons,[10][11][12] until 1955 when it was returned to the Austrian government.

Initially used exclusively by the ground forces, the first military aircraft, Yak-18 "Max-A", arrived in 1957. The base was named for First Lieutenant Walter Vogler in 1967.

The German-built base structures were used jointly by the military and civilian aviation until the 70s when construction of the new civilian area in the northern part of the base was finished.

FH Vogler is the largest base of the Luftstreitkräfte. It houses Fliegerwerft 3, responsible for overhauls and maintenance of the C-130K Hercules and AB-212.

Units currently based here are the C-130K Hercules of 4th Air Transport Squadron, Flight Regiment 3; and the AB-212 of 1st and 2nd Helicopter Squadron, Flight Regiment 3.

Brumowski Air Base
Main gate of FH Brumowski

Fliegerhorst Brumowski, south of the town of Langenlebarn northwest of Vienna, was built as a base for the Luftwaffe 1938–1940. After the war the base was briefly occupied by Soviet troops before it was taken over by the USAAF, becoming "Air Force Station Tulln – Vienna". In 1946 Pan Am added the base as a destination, and for a short time there were regular flights New York City/Langenlebarn.

The first Austrian aircraft to arrive were Yak-11 "Moose" and Yak-18 "Max-A" trainers donated by the Soviet Union and Agusta Bell AB47G2 helicopters in late 1955. The base was named for Captain Godwin Brumowski in 1967.

The base is the headquarters of the Luftunterstützungsgeschwader (Air Support Wing); it also houses the Bundesfachschule für Flugtechnik (Federal School for Aeronautical Engineering) and Fliegerwerft 1, responsible for overhauls and maintenance of the Pilatus PC-6 B2H2 Turbo Porter, S-70A-42 Black Hawk and OH-58B Kiowa.

Units currently based here are the PC-6 B2H2 Turbo Porter of 4th Air Squadron, Flight Regiment 1; the S-70A-42 Black Hawk of 1st Helicopter Squadron, Flight Regiment 1, and OH-58B Kiowa of 3rd Helicopter Squadron, Flight Regiment 1.

Hinterstoisser Air Base

Fliegerhorst Hinterstoisser, located north of Zeltweg in a region known as Aichfeld, was built as a base for the Air Force of the Ständestaat 1936–1938. The base was occupied by Soviet troops in the aftermath of the war, but then transferred to the RAF which used the base until 1947.

In spring 1957 the first aircraft, Piper PA-18/95 Super Cub and Zlin Z-126 Trener, arrived with Fluggruppe 1 at the base. Since then it is the main base for the training of new aviators. It was named for Colonel Franz Hinterstoisser in 1967.

The base houses the 1st Squadron of the Überwachungsgeschwader (Surveillance Wing). With the retirement of the Saab 35 Draken in 2005 the unit now uses the Eurofighter Typhoon. The first Eurofighter Typhoon arrived in July 2007. The base also houses parts of Fliegerwerft 2, responsible for overhauls and maintenance of the Saab 105Oe and the Pilatus PC-7 Turbo Trainer, as well as flight school for basic training.

Units currently based here are the PC-7 Turbo Trainer of flight school; detachments of 2nd Squadron and the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Fiala-Fernbrugg Air Base

Fiala-Fernbrugg Air Base (Fliegerhorst Fiala-Fernbrugg), located north of the town of Aigen im Ennstal on the southern edge of the Totes Gebirge, was built as a base for the Air Force of the Ständestaat 1936–37. At the end of World War II the base became the home base of the only helicopter unit of the Luftwaffe; beginning the tradition of helicopter operations at Aigen im Ennstal.

Soviet troops occupied the base after the war, but after only a few weeks control switched to US forces. After a few more weeks, the base ended up in British hands. The RAF rebuilt the base and handed it over to Austria in 1947. It was used as a storage depot for the B-Gendarmerie, a paramilitary police force in the western zones.
After some years of hiatus, the first helicopters, Bell H-13H Sioux arrived in late 1960. The base was named for Captain Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg in 1967.

The base houses Fliegerwerft A, responsible for overhauls and maintenance on the AS-316B Alouette III. Hochgebirgslandekurse (Alpine landing courses) are conducted at least annually at the base, with officers of foreign air forces as regular attendants.

Units based here are the AS-316B Alouette III of 1st and 2nd Helicopter Squadron, Flight Regiment 2.

Lockheed C-130 Hercules (code 8T-CA) of the Austrian Air Force arriving at the 2018 RIAT, England
Wiener Neustadt Air Base

Wiener Neustadt Air Base was located northwest of the city and was one of the first airports on the European continent. It opened in 1910 and housed units of the Austro-Hungarian Imperial and Royal Aviation Troops. The base was close[specify] to the Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke (WNF) factory[13] in the eastern part of the city[citation needed] and which manufactured Messerschmitt Bf 109s and repaired Junkers bombers and destroyers during World War II.[13] The base was bombed to total destruction during World War II[citation needed] and was rebuilt by the Soviets who operated the base until 1955. The Austrian military took the base over, but didn't use it until 1961. The base houses no units, but Flight Regiment 1's PC-6 B2H2 Turbo Porter are operating from the base for flight training purposes as well as for training of army parachutists.

Truppenübungsplatz Allentsteig – Liechtenstein Kaserne

The large Liechtenstein Kaserne on the northern edge of the Truppenübungsplatz Allentsteig (Training Area, Gunnery and Bombing Range) is home to a detachment of Flight Regiment 1's OH-58B Kiowas. Known as Stützpunkt Nord, it is not only used by military aircraft; helicopters of the Ministry of the Interior also use the base for operations; the task of border surveillance is jointly conducted by the military and civilian authorities. Besides that, Flight Regiment 1's helicopters and PC-6 B2H2 Turbo Porters are operating from the base or its adjacent meadows and roads on a regular basis.

Frundsberg Kaserne

The Frundsberg Kaserne in the southern suburbs of Schwaz east of Innsbruck houses a detachment of Flight Regiment 2's AS-316B Alouette IIIs used for SAR and firefighting duties. The helicopters are operating from Schwaz since 1969. The base is earmarked for closure, with the helicopters being redeployed to the nearby Andreas Hofer Kaserne.

Air Defense Facilities

Main article: Austrian air defense

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Radar installations sites for mobile air defense systems are also maintained by the Austrian Air Force.[7][14]

Ortsfeste Radarstation Kolomannsberg – ORS K

This radar site is located atop the Kolomannsberg (1,114 m) on the border between Salzburg and Upper Austria north of Thalgau in a region known as the Flachgau. The site is active since January 1968, and provides 24/7 air surveillance since August 1968. Initially a French CSF (now Thales Group) RV376 and a British Marconi (now BAE Systems) S244 height finder were used at the site but were replaced by an Italian Selenia (now Alenia) RAT-31S 3D-radar in 1983. The system was further enhanced with the installation of a Selenia (now Alenia) RAT-31DL 3-D radar in 2003.

The site is also called Grossraumradarstation (lit. large space radar station) since it has the necessary office and working areas for a complete air traffic/combat control center. It served in this role until 1987 when its tasks were taken over by the EZ/B and is still maintained to provide backup when needed.

Ortsfeste Radarstation Speikkogel – ORS SPK

This radar site is located atop the Speikkogel (2,140 m) on the border between Styria and Carinthia in the Koralpe mountains west of Wolfsberg. The site is active since 1986, with its construction and commission severely hampered by the bad weather in the region (partly due to the height above SL) and problems with the radom[check spelling] and the radar itself. A Selenia (now Alenia) RAT-31S 3-D radar is installed, scheduled to receive the RAT-31DL upgrade. The site features a downsized version of the ORS K's control center, but is normally not staffed.

Ortsfeste Radarstation Steinmandl – ORS STM

This radar site is located atop the Steinmandl (490 m) north of Ernstbrunn in the Leiser Berge region 40 km north of Vienna. The site is active since 1985; to the immediate west a secondary radar operated by AustroControl is located atop the Buschberg. The ORS uses a Selenia (now Alenia) RAT-31S 3-D radar, but is scheduled to receive the RAT-31DL upgrade. The site was a replacement for the unbuilt one atop the Schneeberg south of Vienna.

Current inventory

Austrian Eurofighter flies over Fliegerhorst Hinterstoisser field
Austrian Air Force S-70A42 landing in Paznaun valley, Austria
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Eurofighter Typhoon Germany multirole Tranche 1 15[15]
Pilatus PC-6 Switzerland utility / transport 8[15]
C-130 Hercules United States tactical airlifter C-130K 3[15]
Embraer C-390 Millennium Brazil tactical airlifter 4 on order [16]
Bell OH-58 United States scout OH-58B 10[15]
Bell UH-1N United States utility 23[15]
Sikorsky S-70 United States utility S-70A 9[15] 15 on order[17]
Aérospatiale Alouette III France liaison / utility 21[15]
AgustaWestland AW169 Italy utility AW169M 3[18] 33 on order[19][15]
Trainer Aircraft
Pilatus PC-7 Switzerland trainer 12[15]
Diamond DA40 Austria trainer DA40 NG 4[20]

Modernization and expansion of the Austrian jet fleet

Modernization and expansion of the Eurofighter fleet

In 2022, the Austrian Ministry of Defense announced that the entire Eurofighter fleet would be modernized. The currently 15 Eurofighters are to receive night vision, self-defence and medium-range missiles.[21]

Furthermore, the purchase of further fighter jets is currently being examined.[22]

Subsonic jets with light armament

It is very likely that Austria will announce the purchase of light jets with light armament (e.g. on-board cannon, unguided rockets,...) in the first half of 2023. More detailed information regarding the type is not yet known.[23]


A list of some notable aircraft retired from the Air Force service

An Austrian Saab Draken
A S-65Öe of the Austrian Air Force parked at RAF Greenham Common in 1974
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Saab 29 Sweden fighter 30[24] replaced by the Saab 105
Saab 35 Sweden fighter / interceptor Saab 35Ö 24[25] retired from service
Northrop F-5 United States fighter F-5E 12[26] four year lease from Switzerland
O-1 Bird Dog United States observation O-1E 5[27] retired from service
Skyvan 3M United Kingdom transport 2[25] placed in storage
Westland Whirlwind United Kingdom utility / transport 10[28] retired from service
Sikorsky S-65 United States transport S-65Öe 2 [29] sold to Israel in 1981[27]
Trainer Aircraft
Yakovlev Yak-18 Soviet Union basic trainer 8[30] retired from service
Saab 105 Sweden jet trainer 105Ö 19 retired from service[6]

Air Defense Systems

Mobile MRCS-403 Systems

Alenia MRCS-403 at the AirPower 2005 airshow

As a backup to the fixed sites and to create a better situation image in times of crisis two Selenia (now Alenia) MRCS-403 3-D radars – mobile versions of the RAT-31S – are operated by the Radarbataillon since 1979. Several sites (Irrsberg, Hochwechsel) are prepared to host the radar.

Mobile RAC 3D Systems

To provide detection of low-flying aircraft the Radarbataillon operates six Thomson-CSF (now Thales Group) RAC 3D medium-range 3-D radars – designated TER Tieffliegererfassungsradar – mounted on ÖAF 32.403 trucks beginning in 1998. A further 16 of these systems are operated by the Air Defense Bataillons in special target designation configuration to provide early warning and target tracking for the Mistral units.

35 mm Twin-barreled Anti-Air Gun Model 85

The Z/FlAK 85 (Zwilling/Fliegerabwehrkanone) is the Oerlikon Contraves GDF-001 system. 18 of these guns were purchased in 1965 (under the designation Z/FlAK 65) and used with earlier acquired Oerlikon Contraves FLGer 60 (Feuerleitgerät, fire control radar) Super Fledermaus and new Oerlikon Contraves FLGer 65 Improved Super Fledermaus.

A second batch of these guns consisting of a further 18 Z/FlAK 65, but this time with FLGer 69, a further improved Super Fledermaus, was purchased in 1973. The FLGer 69 were never issued to the units but returned to the manufacturer in 1973 for eventual replacement with the new FLGer 75 Skyguard beginning in 1976. Improved Skyguards, dubbed FLGer 79 were purchased in 1981.

The guns itself were upgraded to GDF-005 standard in 1987, designated Z/FlAK 85 since. The FLGer 75/79 have been upgraded to FLGer 98 in the late 90s. A total of 72 guns and 37 Skyguard systems have been acquired over the years.

FLGer 98 at the AirPower 2005 airshow

Light Anti-Air Guided Missile Mistral

The lFAL (leichte Fliegerabwehrlenkwaffe) Matra (now MBDA) Mistral is not only used with the Air Defense Regiments of the Air Force, but also with the air defense batteries attached to the HQ units of the Army's Brigades. 72 of these systems – along with several hundred missiles, the exact number is unknown – have been purchased beginning in 1993. They are used in conjunction with the so-called ZZR (Zielzuweisungsradar), 16 Thomson-CSF (now Thales Group) RAC 3D medium range 3-D radars in target designation configuration which were purchased in 1998. Nine missile launchers and two radars normally operate in a battery.

Other Air Defence Systems


This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (September 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
  1. ^ "The Austrian Air Force – In the Past and Today". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2016-03-25.
  2. ^ Simperl, Gerald A. (November 2005). "Austria Retires Its Saab 350E Drakens". Flug Revue. Archived from the original on 3 February 2006. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  3. ^ Eurofighter's Rough Ride in Austria Continues Archived 2009-09-29 at the Wayback Machine. (2012-11-13). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 2017-07-07 at the Wayback Machine. (2017-07-07). Retrieved on 2017-07-07.
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  7. ^ a b Wolfgang Hainzl, Die Luftstreitkräfte Österreichs 1955 bis heute, Third Edition, Weishaupt Verlag, 2000
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  9. ^ Brigadier Rolf M. Urrisk, Die Traditionspflege des österreichischen Bundesheeres 1918–1998, First Edition, Weishaupt Verlag, 1997
  10. ^ "USFA Installations – Page 1. Hörsching Air Base". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
  11. ^ "NCO Academy, Tactical Comd". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
  12. ^ "Two Soviet Officers Flee to Austria, Landing Bomber at U.S. Army Base". Archived from the original on 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2011-12-29.
  13. ^ a b Wernfried, Haberfellner; Schroeder Walter (1993). Wiener Neustädter Flugzeugwerke. Entstehung, Aufbau und Niedergang eines Flugzeugwerkes. Weishaupt Verlag, Graz. ISBN 3-7059-0000-5.
  14. ^ Brigadier Rolf M. Urrisk, Das österreichische Bundesheer 2000, First Edition, Weishaupt Verlag, 2000
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i "World Air Forces 2023". Flightglobal Insight. 2023. Retrieved 23 November 2022.
  16. ^ Höller, Linus (2023-09-21). "Austria to buy four Embraer C-390 cargo planes for over $500 million". Defense News. Retrieved 2023-10-07.
  17. ^ Trippolt, Daniel (2023-08-25). "Bundesheer erhält weitere zwölf "Black Hawk"-Hubschrauber". (in German).
  18. ^ "Leonardo AW-169: Zweiter Hubschrauber ist da, Präsentation am Freitag | Kleine Zeitung". (in German). 2023-02-27. Retrieved 2023-03-01.
  19. ^ "Austria doubles down on Leonardo helicopter procurement". 28 November 2022. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  20. ^ "Four DA40 NG Training Aircraft for the Austrian Armed Forces". 3 May 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  21. ^ "Luftverteidigung: Ministerin Tanner geht einkaufen". DER STANDARD (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2023-03-01.
  22. ^ "Verteidigungsministerin Tanner hält Kauf weiterer Abfangjäger für möglich". DER STANDARD (in Austrian German). Retrieved 2023-03-01.
  23. ^ "Nachfolger für Saab 105 könnte doch kommen". Austrian Wings (in Austrian German). 27 February 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-01.
  24. ^ "World Air Forces 1971". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  25. ^ a b "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 41". Flightglobal. 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  26. ^ "World Air Forces 2004 pg, 44". Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  27. ^ a b "World Air Forces 1983 pg. 327". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  28. ^ "AUSTRIA'S AIR FORCE – 1968 pg. 158". July 1968. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  29. ^ "World's Air Forces - 1981". Retrieved 19 May 2014.
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  31. ^ "Bundesheer - Waffen und Gerät". Retrieved 2023-03-02.