Farewell to Alouette III: A chapter in Austrian military history ends

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On Friday, May 24, 2024, an important ceremony took place in Aigen im Ennstal: Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner and the Governor of Styria, Christopher Drexler, ceremoniously said goodbye to the long-serving Alouette III multi-purpose helicopter from the fleet of the Austrian Armed Forces. The Alouette III, in use since 1967, shaped military “mountain aviation” for decades and was indispensable in numerous rescue and disaster operations.

In her speech, Defense Minister Tanner emphasized the outstanding achievements of the Alouette III and thanked everyone involved: “An era ends, a new one begins! Powerful, reliable and versatile – these are characteristics that have been associated with our Alouette III over the past decades.” The newly purchased Leonardo AW169 multi-purpose helicopter is now ushering in a promising era in military aviation.

Governor Drexler also acknowledged the importance of the Alouette III for Styria and was pleased about the future investments: “The new helicopter will create around 200 additional jobs for the shipyard and a total of 40 million will be invested in the infrastructure and thus in our Styria.”

The Alouette III was put into service in 1967 by the French manufacturer Sud Aviation/Aérospatiale. With 570 hp, a range of 400 km and a speed of 210 km/h, the helicopter has proven itself in many missions at home and abroad. The last operational flight took place at the end of 2023. The Alouette III will now be completely replaced by the Leonardo AW169, which will also result in an upgrade of the Aigen base in the Ennstal.

Alouette III in action (Photo: Armed Forces).
Alouette III in action (Photo: Armed Forces).
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