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Austria making military equipment cuts

April 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM

VIENNA, April 23 (UPI) -- The Austrian Defense Ministry has reiterated its decision to cut its heavy equipment inventory by two-thirds.

About 750 armored vehicles -- out of the current inventory of 1,150 -- will be retired by 2014, it said. The retired vehicles will be sold, scrapped or used for spare parts.

Also being retired from service are the army's inventory of Kurassier tank destroyers, the M-578 armored recovery vehicles and armored personnel carriers of the Saurer-Reihe series.

The Austrian army has about 48 Kurassier tank destroyers in operation, with more than 60 in storage.

The Defense Ministry said the number of its Leopard 2 main battle tanks will be reduced by half and three-quarters of its fleet of M-109 self-propelled howitzers will be retired.

The government said the reductions in inventory take into account possible future threats the country may face. They will also save money.

More than $19 million in operating costs will be saved in the medium term and long term, it is estimated. The selling of unneeded equipment or its scrapping is expected to generate about $22.4 million in revenue by 2014.

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