January 21, 2022 6:25 pm

Austria promotes the first ‘sustainable’ low-emission Armed Forces

Correspondent in Berlin

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The color of the uniforms of the Austrian Armed Forces is already olive green, but the high military commanders of the Alpine country seem determined that this army is green down to the smallest detail, more specifically sustainable and climate neutral.

After acknowledging that the current enemy is none other than global warming, the military organization is reshaping strategies and protocols to combat it from within. The most visible example are the flight maneuvers popularly known as ‘Airpower’, which in its 2022 edition will become an “ecological model to follow” that will define the new military spirit.

“For the first time in the history of the armed forces, we will organize a sustainable Airpower with ecological flights,” announced Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, from the conservative Popular Party (ÖVP), who has ordered the deployment of a team of experts in the field of the sustainability and environmental protection “To help bridge the gap between climate protection and military guidance”

For the popular Airpower exhibition maneuvers, which will take place on 2 and 3 September this year in the province of Styria and with Red Bull as sponsor, the Austrian Armed Forces will deploy around 50 aircraft, including the S-70 Black Hawk, Eurofighter and C-130 Hercules transport plane. The event attracts up to 300,000 spectators – and often criticized for its environmental impact – but this time a green version is planned, with ecological fuels and a parking system around the Hinterstoisser air base that discourages private transport for the benefit of the public.

“It may give the impression that we had never done something like this before in the army, but it is not the case”, clarifies Major Sebastian Schwab, responsible for the sustainability of the event, “what happens is that now we communicate it differently because we are all more aware of how important the issue is.

Another of the main novelties is that the Austrian Army is now in charge of ensuring biodiversity in military training areas. The Allentsteig Proving Ground, for example, is already part of the ‘Natura 2000 Network of Protected Areas’. The new being and being of the Austrian Armed Forces is perceived even in the dining rooms and canteens. The “Klimateller” project ensures more regionality and seasonality of the food served to the military, while carrying out a program to reduce the amount of food waste in the troop kitchens.

A special training unit for employees has been added to the basic military training program in the areas of environmental protection, sustainability, ecology and waste separation. And the Ministry of Defense has arranged investments in clothing and motor vehicles that generate the lowest possible emissions. “As long as the capacity is not damaged, electric cars are bought,” says the Ministry.

‘Self-sufficient’ barracks

“Like democracy, the principle of sustainability is based on three pillars: ecology, social affairs and economy. These are the aspects that are making their way now in many areas of the department “, explains a statement,” this also applies to comprehensive national defense, which includes civil, economic, national military defense and intelligence. “With various projects an ecological aspect is added as part of the national military defense, to promote sustainability and sensitize our collaborators, in addition to making their particular contribution to the fulfillment of the federal government’s climate objectives,” the text adds.

The Austrian Army also sees great potential in the construction of photovoltaic systems power supply at military installations. There are already two pilot projects underway for the generation, storage and use of kinetic, thermal and electrical energy. One of the main long-term goals is the conversion of all the barracks to self-sufficiency and the first steps are already being taken.

By 2025, 100 barracks in Austria should be able to function independently and with the capacity to react quickly and efficiently to threat scenarios such as a major blackout. “For the self-sufficient barracks, we have developed a package that will be implemented in parallel or in addition to the construction program. There is a prioritization concept for the whole of Austria and it is processed point by point. Because it is clear that we have to modernize our armed forces and prepare them for new threats. In total, we will invest more than 90 million euros in the next five years ”, explained Tanner.

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Reference-www.abc.es

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