It is likely that a software error caused last week’s incident in which the pilot of a Hungarian Gripen fighter jet decided to perform an emergency landing that resulted in damage to the craft, Csaba Hende, Hungarian defence minister, told daily newspaper Napi Gazdaság. Initial inspections have shown that the JAS-39 C Gripen fighter can be repaired, he said.
Soon after taking off from the Kecskemet airbase, in southern Hungary, after 9am last Wednesday, pilot Sándor Kádár reported that he was unable to withdraw the front landing gear despite repeated attempts. A video released later by the Defence Ministry clearly shows the highly experienced pilot making an emergency landing before ejecting out of the fighter jet built by Swedish Saab. Last Thursday Csaba Hende visited the brave pilot in the hospital and presented him with a military decoration.
Csaba Hende told media he did not want to pre-empt the outcome of an ongoing investigation, but details which have emerged so far, and the fact that Sweden’s air force had experienced a similar problem involving a Gripen, underscore this likelihood. He rebuffed press reports suggesting that Hungarian fighter planes had been grounded due to a failure to eject properly. The rest of the Gripens belonging to Hungary’s air force continue to be in a state of full readiness, he added.
Meanwhile, in a separate interview to Magyar Hírlap, defence minister Csaba Hende said that Hungary’s defence budget would grow by 48 billion forints (EUR 154m) next year. Accordingly, the defence portfolio will have 299 billion forints at its disposal in 2016.
via hungarymatters.hu and napigazdasag.hu photo: Tamás Kovács – MTI