VIENNA --- Austrian Defense Minister Doskozil is looking for a cheaper alternative to the Eurofighter.
In the Ministry of Defense, they will tell you nothing on the subject. No wonder: the SPÖ Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil is likely to announce the end for the Eurofighter -- a flight hour costs up to 80,000 euros.
Austria’s searches have determined that airspace monitoring can be handled by only one system in the future -- this task is currently shared by the Eurofighter with the Saab 105 Ö. Here are the possible successors:
■ Leonardo M 346 jet trainer: Would probably the most cost-effective solution; the Italian jet can also be armed, and its flight hour comes to only 10,000 to 15,000 euros. But Leonardo cannot climb at supersonic speeds; as Georg Mader emphasizes. And Doskozil had explicitly said that the airspace had to be monitored with supersonic jets.
According to experts, two alternatives remain:
■ Gripen: The Swedish jet was originally already in the running against the Eurofighter. But since the latest variant is not much cheaper, used or older versions would have to be ordered.
■ F 16 Fighting Falcon: The same is true of Lockheed's US jet, of which over 4,570 copies have already been sold.
But no matter who wins the race, training jets will also be necessary in the future.