Austria to halve tank force to reflect stable Europe


VIENNA — Neutral Austria will junk or sell more than 500 tanks as it scales back its armored forces to reflect post-Cold War stability in Europe, the government announced on Sunday. “We will still have robust equipment available to protect our soldiers on foreign missions and will have to maintain our armored capabilities in case the security situation changes in the long term,” Defense Minister Norbert Darabos said. “But the security situation and the duties of the military allow the extent of the tank force to be reduced dramatically.” The move will reduce the number of Austrian tanks — many of them relicts of the Cold War standoff between the capitalist West and communist East — by more than half. Up to 1,000 anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons are also slated to go.