A fleet of Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets protect Hungary’s airspace, just like in the Czech Republic where the government uses the same models. But the Prague government wants to replace its planes, and Czech military strategists are dreaming big. Meanwhile, Hungary may be stuck with outdated planes for a long time.
New Czech aircraft from the USA
The Czech government has started negotiations with the United States on the purchase of F35 fighter jets, napi.hu reports. The Czech Defence Ministry would equip two squadrons with the super-weapon. This means that the Czech defence forces could have 24 35s. The exact price is not yet known, but it is certain that this will be the largest purchase of weapons in the history of the Czech army.
It is the best fighter aircraft on the market, with a capability unlike any other,” says Matúš Halás, a security policy expert at the Institute of International Relations in Prague. The negotiations could last until October 2023.
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Will Hungary follow the Czech example?
Experts say the difference between the new models and the existing aircraft 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, defence costs cannot be spared.
Opposition politicians disagree. They believe that 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. It 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 fighter that is easy to manoeuvre. It has a range of 3,200 kilometres and can fly at an altitude of 15,420 metres.
It has not been used in Sweden due to European stability and a reserved foreign policy. Nor has it been in sharp combat in Hungary. Routine flights are often held in Hungary though, writes liner.hu. Therefore, even if they are not the most updated models, perhaps the Ferrari Dacia analogy is an exaggeration.
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Source: liner.hu, napi.hu
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