Hungarian Air Force SAAB JAS 39C/D Gripen fighter aircraft from the 59th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kecskemét Airbase are the new air police of Slovenia.
Both countries confirmed the change in the official NATO Air Policing Mission on 3 January 2014. Like the Baltic republics and Iceland, the NATO country Slovenia lacks airborne air defense to protect its airspace. Since Slovenia became part of the military alliance in 2004, the Aeronautica Militare (AMI or Italian Air Force) provided the air component in Slovenian defences.
Now its Hungary’s turn. The Gripen fighters keep operating from Kecskemét, they don’t even need aerial refueling to execute the air defence mission. This means that from a military point of view Slovenian Air Defence Space is practically added to the Hungarian one, although neither of the two countries will call it that way.
The Hungarian armed forces (Magyar Légierö) fly 12 JAS 39C and 2 JAS 39D Gripen fighter jets, on lease from Sweden. Slovenia’s Air Force only has helicopters (Bell 206, Bell 412, AS532), light utility/observation aircraft (Zlin 143 / 242), advanced training aircraft (Pilatus PC-6/PC-7) and a single L-410UVP short-haul transport aircraft.
© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger
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