Budapest, January 8 (MTI) – More than eighty Hungarian soldiers and four JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets of Hungary’s air force have returned after successfully completing a Baltic Air Policing mission, the defence ministry said on Friday.
The Hungarian contingent handed over the task to Spanish soldiers at 9am on Friday, local time, the statement said.
“The Hungarian soldiers have not only fulfilled their duties but their high level of preparedness gained praise from commanders and from NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre in Germany,” the statement said citing Defence Minister Istvan Simicsko.
The Hungarian mission patrolled the airspace over the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for four months starting in September 2015.
Hungary fulfilled the mission in conjunction with Germany. During the four months, Hungarian pilots spent more than 430 hours in the air, they were alerted 25 times and received an additional 101 test alerts.
“By fulfilling the tasks of the air policing mission, Hungary has joined those NATO member states that are capable of deploying their air force beyond the borders of the country,” the statement said, adding that in 2019 Hungary will again police Baltic airspace for four months.