The Austrian Army will upgrade its entire fleet of AB-212 helicopters with modern avionics systems and improved night vision and defensive capabilities.

Defence Minister Norbert Darabos said the upgraded helicopter fleet will be able to remain fully operational for another 25 years or about 100,000 flight hours.

The €63m ($84.2m) upgrade contract signed with AgustaWestland will run for ten years.

AgustaWestland will upgrade a maximum of six helicopters simultaneously to ensure that the fleet is available at all times.

Upgrade works on the aircraft are scheduled to begin in June 2010 and are expected to be complete within four years.

The Austrian Army will primarily use the fleet of 23 AB-212 helicopters based at Linz-Hörsching for military air transport.