Austria has selected Rheinmetall to modernize its air defense capabilities with a €532 million contract, signing an agreement for the next-gen Skyguard system.
In a ceremony held in Vienna, Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, along with representatives from Rheinmetall, finalized the agreement for Project Skyguard Next Generation. According to Rheinmetall, the project is set to progress over a 48-month period, commencing in February 2024.
This initiative signifies a crucial step forward for the Austrian Army, contributing to its “Mission Forward” rearmament program designed to enhance and modernize the country’s military forces.
“We’re delighted by this important market win for Skynex technology. In this flagship project, Austria is at the absolute forefront of antiaircraft and counter-drone defense in Europe,” said Armin Papperger, chairman of the executive board of Rheinmetall AG.
“This major order also highlights Rheinmetall’s key role in reequipping the armed forces of Europe in response to new threats. Our solutions for stationary and mobile air defense are part of this,” he added.
According to Rheinmetall’s statement, the Austrian order comprises seven tactical units, each equipped with four 35 mm guns, an airspace surveillance sensor unit, and a command post. The upgrade involves modernizing twenty-eight 35 mm guns from the existing inventory.
The 35 mm Oerlikon twin guns will be integrated with a high-performance target-tracking capability and Rheinmetall’s Skymaster command system. Operators, according to Rheinmetall’s statement, can build a local picture, assess threats, and engage in coordination with high-tech elements.
The system, as claimed by the company, is highly mobile, enhancing military planning efficiency, with dismountable and remotely operated guns ensuring troop safety and boosting combat effectiveness.
The contract also covers spare parts, training support, and 35 mm AHEAD programmable ammunition, with an option to include an additional tactical unit.