EKO Cobra is Austrias primary counter-terrorism special operations tactical unit. It is not part of the Austrian Federal Police but is directly under the control of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior. The Einsatzkommando Cobra, formerly known as GEK was formed in 1978 and its main office is in Wiener Neustadt, with sub-offices in Graz, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck. The Federal Ministry of the Interior changed the name from GEK to EKO Cobra in 2002. The 450 men of EKO Cobra have trained some of the most elite special forces units. The EKO Cobra was involved in a rescue in the Graz-Karlau Prison in 1996. The team overpowered the man and handed him over to the authorities after landing, the officers received a decoration by Russian prime minister Putin. 135 EKO Cobra operatives were involved in the search for Alois Huber, any member of the Austrian Federal Police may apply for the EKO Cobra. The tests consist of medical examinations, psychological tests and vigorous physical tests, besides the courses taught in the basic training, further specialization is possible in fields, such as parachuting, diving, explosives or sniping. Since its establishment in 1978,1,140 officers have served in EKO Cobra, the units headquarters is located in Wiener Neustadt. It performs all administrative activities and the training for the EKO Cobra officers, further departments exist in Vienna, Graz, Linz and Innsbruck with small field offices in Klagenfurt, Salzburg and Feldkirch. Each department contains four teams and each field contains two. This structure allows the units to be deployed anywhere in Austria in less than 70 minutes, EKO Cobra is armed mainly with Austrian weaponry, but sometimes foreign-produced arms are used too. They are equipped with many Steyr-manufactured weapons, such as the Steyr AUG assault rifle, the sniper rifle Steyr SSG69 including its sound-suppressed variant and the 9mm Steyr TMP machine pistol. Glock pistols are used as sidearms, the most common being the Glock 17, EKO Cobra use a variety of equipment designed for a variety of situations. Austrias capital city, Vienna, has its own counter-terrorist SWAT team and it is trained to similar standards and is capable of handling serious situations such as hostage taking. List of special police units Official website
Image: EKO Cobra logo
Two members of EKO Cobra in operational loadout (historic).
Officers of the EKO Cobra rope down a building
An officer of the Austrian counter-terrorism unit EKO Cobra handling a Steyr AUG rifle during an airborne operation (the aircraft is a Bell 206B Jet Ranger).