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The Hungarian Defence Forces are strengthened with four additional Gripens

Text: Ministry of Defence | Photo: archives, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky’s Facebook page |  14:57 February 23, 2024

Hungary’s increasing engagement abroad and the changed international environment have necessitated the further development of the tactical fighter capability of the air force. For this reason, the government of Hungary has made a decision to procure four additional JAS 39 Gripen multirole tactical fighters to complement the 14 JAS 39s already in service – announced Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky.


The minister of defence said that the new acquisitions will strengthen the capabilities of Hungary’s air force for safeguarding the airspace of the country in accordance with national and NATO standards. He underlined that the high-tech multi-role tactical aircraft have outstanding features in terms of air-to-air combat, effectiveness in a ground attack role and aircraft maintenance. He recalled that the Gripen fleet, the backbone of the Hungarian air force is known and recognized on an international level as well. So far, the Hungarian JAS 39 Gripens have safeguarded the airspace of the Baltic countries on three occasions, in the framework of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission, and they will perform this task again in 2025.

Besides, in cooperation with Italy, Hungarian Gripens protect the skies of Slovenia, and, – in cooperation with the Visegrád Four (V4) member states – of Slovakia as well – added the minister. Besides the expansion of the aircraft fleet, the two sides have agreed on a long-term, ten-year extension of the logistic services provided by the Swedish manufacturers as well as on cooperation in the field of training.

Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky also revealed that a Centre of Excellence (CoE) using Virtual Reality (VR) is to be established under a cooperation agreement concluded between the Ministry of Defence and the Swedish SAAB aerospace and defence company. According to the document, the Swedish side participates, among others, in developing the tactical fighter capability of the Hungarian air force and the virtual training needs of the corresponding field support service capacities. In connection with this, an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-supported aviation maintenance training program will be launched as a pilot project in the CoE, which is to be coordinated on Hungary’s part by the Defense Innovation Research Institute Nonprofit Ltd (VIKI).

Press release by the Ministry of Defence