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Austrian Armed Forces

Austrian Armed Forces

The German for the Austrian Armed Forces is The Österreichisches Bundesheer, is the name for the military of the Republic of Austria.

The primary branches are the Land Forces (Kommando Landstreitkräfte), Air Forces (Kommando Luftstreitkräfte), Mission Support (Kommando Einsatzunterstützung), International Missions (Kommando Internationale Einsätze), Command Support (Kommando Führungsunterstützung) and Special Forces (Kommando Spezialeinsatzkräfte).

The Austrian semi-regular army was called Volkswehr (“People’s Defence”), and fought against Yugoslavian army units occupying parts of Carinthia, between 1918 and 1921. It has been known as “Bundesheer” since then, except when Austria was a part of Nazi Germany (1938-1945). The Austrian Army did develop a defense plan in 1938 against Germany, but politics prevented it from being implemented.

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In 1955, Austria declared its Everlasting Neutrality and made neutrality a constitutional law. The Austrian Military’s main purpose since then has been the protection of Austria’s neutrality.

With the end of the Cold War, the Austrian military have increasingly assisted the border police in controlling the influx of illegal immigrants through Austrian borders. The war in the neighbouring Balkans resulted in the lifting of the restrictions on the range of weaponry of the Austrian military that had been imposed by a 1955 international treaty.

Austria’s combat frogmen are part of the commando group of the Austrian Armed Forces—the Jagdkommando. The commando group is available for special operations in multinational operations, and for operational clearing-up in remote reconnaissance employments and in military protection of individuals abroad.
They use the Dräger LAR-V oxygen rebreather, which weighs 11 kg and has a 1.5 liter oxygen cylinder and allows a dive 3 hours long.

Beyond that they have special tasks within the range of combat frogmen, the paratroops, and personal guards.