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Austrian Army receives unmanned aerial vehicles

Austria's Ministry of Defense says it has acquired small unmanned aerial vehicles for its Army Troops School.

By Richard Tomkins
Austrian Army receives unmanned aerial vehicles
A French soldier launches a Tracker-like UAV. Photo: French Ministry of Defense.

EISENSTADT, Austria, May 4 (UPI) -- Austria has supplied a half-dozen small unmanned aerial vehicles and associated equipment to its army training school, the Ministry of Defense reported.

The drones are based on the Tracker UAV from Cassidian, which weighs about 18.7 pounds, has a 90-minute flight endurance and a speed of nearly 56 miles per hour.

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"The Austrian Armed Forces now have six modern reconnaissance drone systems for use at home and abroad," said Defense Minister Gerald Klug, who presented the drones to the Army Troops School in Martin barracks, in Eisenstadt. "The drones are designed to protect soldiers, and are an integral part of the military environment."

Additional equipment given the school included a ground control station for monitoring, a day-and-night vision camera and tracking antenna.

The cost to the Austrian Armed Forces for the equipment -- as well as training for 16 operators -- was about $3.3 million.

The ministry said operation of the UAVs would normally occur in flight restriction areas, including the training areas at Allentsteig, Seetaler Alps and Felixdorf.

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