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Austria eyes F-35 for future Eurofighter replacement

Austria has become the latest country to log its interest in the F-35, eyeing a possible sale to replace its Eurofighter Typhoons in the post-2030 timeframe. (US Air Force)

Austria is considering the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) as a potential replacement for its fleet of Eurofighter Typhoons in the post-2030 timeframe.

Following publication on 7 October of the EUR16 billion (USD15.5 billion) defence budget through to 2027, Janes was told that 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.

Although details remain vague, Janes understands that this work is to be undertaken under plans to determine a successor platform to the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft fielded by the Austrian Air Force (Österreichische LuftstreitkrĂ€fte: OL), which are scheduled for 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.

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