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More Gripens and Tactical Aircraft to Strengthen the Air Force

Hungary Today 2024.02.26.

Not only the fighter jet fleet, but also the number of transport aircraft will increase, and the first new generation of jet trainers could arrive in 2024, reports Lhsn.hu.

In a post on its social media page, Lhsn.hu, well-informed about the air force, noted that the Ministry of Defense has signed a contract for the purchase of four more JAS-39 fighter jets, as stated in a press release from the Swedish Gripen manufacturer SAAB.

The post adds that it was known for some time that Hungary wanted to expand its fighter aircraft fleet. As they write, some had already known in previous years that the planes were ready for Hungary. In fact, some military scheduling plans last year already indicated that the four new aircraft would arrive in 2024, bringing the fleet to 18. Reportedly, 12 Gripen C/Ds were produced in Switzerland a few years ago in the hope of commercial success, but the country did not opt for this type, so Hungary could instead receive four of these Gripens.

According to a scheduling plan quoted by Lhsn.hu, the Hungarian Air Force could be bolstered with more Gripen aircraft in the medium term in addition to the four JAS-39Cs mentioned above.

Another 16 Gripen fighters are scheduled to arrive after 2030, which could be confirmed by SAAB’s recent announcement that the company is ready to support the Hungarian Gripen fleet until 2035 and beyond, according to the post. This raises the question of whether the new Gripen E/F aircraft will arrive in Hungary after 2030, by which time the C/D version is likely to be obsolete.

According to the website, the first and second Embraer KC-390 transport aircraft of the Hungarian Defense Forces are scheduled to arrive this year.

More recent information indicates that the plans of the armed forces foresee the arrival of two more tactical military transport aircraft in 2028.

Embraer KC-390. Photo: honvedelem.hu

As for the additional Gripens and KC-390s, the author notes in the comment section that it is not known whether there is a contract for their purchase, or whether they are only on the schedule. It is also pointed out that the year 2024, will bring the most novelties for the Kecskemét Air Force, as the first four new-generation L-39NG jet trainers could also arrive this year.

In accordance with the military schedule that was also presented at a public presentation, four more NGs are scheduled for delivery in 2025, and four more in 2028.

As Hungary Today previously reported, the contract signed on Friday between Sweden and the Hungarian State will add four more JAS-39Cs to the existing 14 JAS-39 Gripen multirole fighters. In addition to the fleet expansion, the parties also signed an agreement on cooperation after the lease expires in 2026. The logistical services provided by Sweden will be extended by ten years and cooperation on training will continue.

Minister of Defense Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky also announced that “a competence center for artificial intelligence will be established on the basis of a cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Defense and the Swedish defense company SAAB.”

The Swedish side is also involved in the development of the Hungarian Air Force’s fighter aircraft capabilities and the need for virtual training for the operational capabilities supporting them. In this context, maintenance training supported by artificial intelligence will be launched as a pilot project at the center.

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Via Ungarn Heute, Lhsn.hu; Featured image: honvedelem.hu

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