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Hungarian Airforce’s JAS-39 Gripen

Recent negotiations between the Swedish and Hungarian governments could lead to a significant military and defense agreement, as reported by Index. Such an agreement, according to the news site, would greatly benefit both the Hungarian Ministry of Defense and the armed forces.

While there is no confirmed information on new defense equipment considerations, there’s speculation that Hungary’s Gripen program might undergo further development. This potential enhancement could signify a deepening of Hungary’s defense capabilities, aligning with modernization efforts seen across various sectors.

The Swedish Defense Minister, Jan Jonson, announced in a statement to the European news portal Euractiv that his Hungarian counterpart, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, relayed the Hungarian Parliament’s intention to ratify the contract with Sweden at the earliest opportunity.

Minister Jonson emphasized Sweden’s readiness to negotiate with Hungary, but clarified that Sweden’s NATO membership is non-negotiable.

This reaffirms Sweden’s commitment to its defense alliances while fostering bilateral cooperation with Hungary.

Swedish Minister of Defense, Pal Jonson. Photo: Facebook / Pal Jonson

He also underscored the significance of the Hungarian-Swedish partnership, highlighting the Hungarian armed forces’ utilization of the Swedish Gripen fighter aircraft system as a prime example. This partnership not only enhances Hungary’s defense capabilities, but also strengthens ties between the two nations, fostering mutual trust and collaboration.


SAAB produced the first JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft in 1996. The acronym JAS in the type designation stands for the Swedish words for fighter, attack, and reconnaissance. Currently, the aircraft is in service in four countries outside the Royal Swedish Air Force: Hungary, the Czech Republic, and South Africa. In 2014, Brazil signed a USD 5 billion contract with Saab for 36 units, which will be assembled at Brazil’s Embraer factory and put into service as the F-39 by the country’s air force. It is noteworthy that the model development of the Gripen aircraft family is currently focused on the E/F models.

Gripen’s ‘philosophy’ emphasizes the increased use of integrated systems alongside cost-efficient operations. Due to this technological focus, the latest E-series models are not yet in service, as SAAB aims for an even more advanced aircraft, which has slowed down the development and entry-into-service process.

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó also commented on the defense cooperation between the two nations.

He noted the comfort Swedish companies feel in Hungary and the Hungarian armed forces’ operation of Gripen fighter jets.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s upcoming visit to Budapest at the invitation of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán signifies the importance both nations place on defense and security cooperation. Mr. Szijjártó emphasized that

…the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest signifies the importance both nations place on defense and security cooperation.”

Defense-industry and military relations between the two countries have deep roots. Hungary currently operates 14 JAS-39 Gripen C/D fighter aircraft, with plans for permanent ownership upon the lease’s expiration in 2026. This long-standing partnership in military aviation underscores the trust and reliability between Sweden and Hungary, paving the way for further collaboration in the defense sector.


The trend observed in recent years in the development of domestic military forces leans towards technological and production cooperation rather than direct acquisitions. Within the framework of these collaborations, the military division of the German company Rheinmetall has established a factory in Hungary for the production of Lynx tanks, while cooperation has been initiated with the Czech arms manufacturer CZ for the exchange of service weapons for the Hungarian Defence Forces. The CZ BREN-2 machine carbines are assembled under license at Kiskunfélegyháza (central Hungary).

Hungary’s military capabilities are also being bolstered in electronic reconnaissance and combat, with the acquisition of Swedish-manufactured equipment. The SAAB Bofors Dynamics Carl Gustaf M4 recoilless rifle has been incorporated into Hungary’s arsenal. Furthermore, Hungary is considering the acquisition of CB90 assault boats to augment its river warfare capability, with plans for two units under consideration.

Our collaboration with Sweden in defense and security is vital for maintaining regional stability and safeguarding our shared interests,”

emphasized Prime Minister Orbán. As regional security challenges continue to evolve, strong partnerships and collaboration are essential for ensuring stability and prosperity in Europe.

Swedish Prime Minister’s Planned Visit Gives Green Light to NATO Accession
Swedish Prime Minister’s Planned Visit Gives Green Light to NATO Accession

This morning, Fidesz proposed that the National Assembly hold a final vote on ratification on February 26. Continue reading

Via Index, Magyar Nemzet; Featured Image: honvedelem.hu

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