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Austria becomes launch customer for Rheinmetall's Skyranger 30 air-defence system

The Bundesheer and Rheinmetall signed a contract on 21 February for the German company's Skyranger 30 turret. (Georg Mader)

The Bundesheer (Austrian Armed Forces) and Rheinmetall announced on 23 February that they had signed a contract for the German company's Skyranger 30 turret, making Austria the launch customer for the air-defence system.

Austrian Minister of Defence Klaudia Tanner and Rheinmetall Air Defence CEO Oliver Dürr signed the contract on 21 February for 36 Skyranger turrets to install in the same number of the 225 Pandur Evolution (EVO) 6×6 armoured vehicles Austria ordered from General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr (GDELS-Steyr) on 19 February. Under the contract, valued in the mid-three-digit million euro range, deliveries are scheduled for 2026–30.

Noting that the Skyranger defends against unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and missiles, Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer said, “This investment is the first step towards secure air defence and therefore also an important contribution to the Skyshield missile defence shield to protect our neutral country.” Tanner added, “With Skyranger, we will in [the] future be in a position to fill capability gaps in mobile air defence. Austria will be the first country in Europe to receive the new air-defence systems and will thus take on a unique pioneering role in ground-based air defence.”

Pandur EVO air-defence variants will be based with all Bundesheer brigades.

Rheinmetall unveiled the Skyranger 30 to the defence media in March 2021. The system fires a 30 mm airburst munition and is housed in a 2–2.5 tonne turret, allowing it to be carried by lighter vehicles than the 4–4.5 tonne turret Skyranger 35 the company first presented in 2004.

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