The Austrian air force demonstrated the air policing capabilities of its new Eurofighter Typhoons on 27 March.
The service used the arrival of flag carrier Austrian's first winglet-equipped Boeing 767-300ER for the exercise. On its return to Vienna from undergoing modification in the USA, OE-LAE was intercepted by a pair of Typhoons launched from Zeltweg air base.
The flight culminated with the fighters - which are armed with Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missiles and Mauser 27mm cannon - simulating a forced landing for the aircraft at Zeltweg.
Both images © Markus Zinner/BMLV
Austria's defence ministry says its quick reaction alert (QRA) fighters were scrambled 73 times in 2008, identifying aircraft that had entered national airspace without authorisation or lost communication with air traffic controllers.
Assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing, Austria's Typhoons have provided QRA services since mid-2008, and its air force has a goal of having aircraft in the air within 7min of a threat situation arising.
Vienna's Typhoon fleet will total 15 single-seat Tranche 1 aircraft, nine of which have been delivered to date, according to Flight's MiliCAS database. Its acquisition is valued at an estimated €1.6 billion ($2.1 billion).
Zeltweg, the subject of a more than €100 million modernisation programme linked to the Eurofighter purchase, will host the AirPower 2009 air show on 26-67 June. The free event was last staged in 2005, when it attracted around 250,000 spectators.