On July 12th, 2007, the Austrian Air Force
entered the 4th Generation Jet Age.
After six weeks of poltical delays, these in turn
born out of more than ten years of heated political
debate, finally the first of the contracted 15 Eurofighter
Typhoon Jets arrived at Zeltweg Air Force Base, being
ferried by EADS Test Pilot Martin Angerer.
After the traditional aviation welcome using two water
cannons, AS001 was officially handed over from Eurofighter
GmbH (a part of EADS Military Air Systems) to the
Austrian Armed Forces. While the last-Minute Reduction
of 18 planned aircraft to only 15 by socialist Minister
of Defense Norber Darabos certainly is regretable
and of questionable value, the Eurofighter Typhoon
is still a jet two generations newer than anything
the Austrian Air Force had ever handled so far (it's
former rideshaving been Saab J-35OE "Draken"
and now Northrop F-5E "Tiger" on lease from
Expected readiness for QRA missions is in Juli 2008,
a time at which the majority of the 15 aircrafts should
be delivered already. I wish the Austrian Air Force
the best of luck and I'm proud and happy for them
to finally recive adequate equipment for their important
job in service of the Austrian Republic.