A fleet of Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets protect Hungarian airspace, just like in the Czech Republic where the government uses the same models. But the government in Prague wants to replace its planes, and Czech military strategists are thinking big. Meanwhile, Hungary could be stuck with outdated aircraft for a long time.
New Czech aircraft from the United States
The Czech government has entered into negotiations with the United States on the purchase of F35 fighter jets, napi.hu reports. The Czech Ministry of Defense would equip two squadrons with the superweapon. This means that the Czech Defense Forces could have 24 35s. The exact price is not yet known, but it is certain that it will be the largest arms purchase in the history of the Czech army.
It is the best combat aircraft on the market, with unparalleled capability,” says Matúš Halás, a security policy expert at the Institute of International Relations in Prague. Negotiations could last until October 2023.
Will Hungary follow the Czech example?
Experts say the difference between new models and existing planes in the Czech Republic and Hungary could be compared to the difference between a Ferrari and a Dacia. Looking at Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, many believe that the development of the Hungarian Air Force would be justified. In the current political climate, defense costs cannot be spared.
Opposition politicians disagree. They believe the Czech government would choose the American weapon for prestige. However, its price and operating costs are much higher than any other comparable aircraft. If the Czech deal goes through, the first F35 could arrive in the Czech Air Force in 2027.
Hungarian Gripen aircraft
The Saab brand is often associated with road vehicles. However, Saab also has a long history in the military industry. He is also the co-designer, alongside Boeing, of the T-7 Red Hawk trainer.
The Jas 39 Gripen is a multirole fighter. It can be used for reconnaissance, offensive and defensive missions. It is a lightweight, single-engine, single-seat, easy-to-maneuver fighter. It has a range of 3,200 kilometers and can fly at an altitude of 15,420 meters.
It was not used in Sweden due to European stability and a reserved foreign policy. He was also not in hard fight in Hungary. Routine flights often take place in Hungary, writes liner.hu. Therefore, while not the most recent models, the Ferrari Dacia analogy may be overstated.
Source: liner.hu, napi.hu