Hungarian Gripens start quick reaction alert duty

By Craig Hoyle

Hungary has declared its Saab Gripen C/D fighters as operational in providing quick reaction alert cover over its territory.

The milestone was marked during a ceremony attended by Hungarian defence minister Imre Szekeres late last month. The Swedish-built aircraft will deliver air policing services from their base at Kecskemet on an alternating basis with the air force's remaining RSK MiG-29 fighters until year-end. The service's 59th Tactical Fighter Wing will then assume the responsibility on a full-time basis using its Gripens (below).

Hungary received its last of 14 Gripens in December 2007 under a lease-to-buy deal brokered through Sweden's Defence Materiel Administration. The aircraft are armed with Raytheon AIM-9L Sidewinder and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. Its air force still operates eight MiG-29s (one pictured below), according to Flight's MiliCAS database.

© Reed Business Information 2009

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