Austria is looking towards the Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and BAE Systems Hawk to replace its age old Saab 105 trainer jets, news outlet oe24.at reports. The Saabs are set to retire in 2020 and a decision about their replacement is to be made over the next few months. Austrian Alouette III helicopters are also due to retire, while Black Hawk transport choppers are updated.
Austrian Eurofighter pilots already receive their training at Lecce airbase in Italy, the same bases that houses Italy’s M-346 trainers. The Alpine country is studying the purchase of 8 to 12 new trainer jets, which may as well be BAE Systems Hawks. A lease option is also said to be under consideration, similar to the option considered by the Netherlands.
Austria received its first Saab 105 in 1970. Out of forty aircraft delivered, 18 are still used on a daily basis for operational tasks and training purposes.
Black hawk helicopters are scheduled for an update at a cost of 70 million EUR. The 24 remaining Alouette IIIs will leave service.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: The Alenia Aermacchi M-346. (Image © Elmer van Hest)