HUNGARIAN AIR FORCE JAS 39 GRIPEN
Hungary became an operator of the highly successful Saab JAS 39 Gripen in 2006, when it took on charge the first of 14 examples. Currently operated under a leasing arrangement with the Swedish government, renewed for another decade during 2012, these comprise a dozen single-seat JAS 39C variants and a pair of JAS 39D two-seaters. All 13 survivors are flown by the 'Puma' squadron of the 59th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kecskemét. Adding the Gripen to its inventory has boosted significantly the front-line capabilities of the Hungarian Air Force, which was previously reliant on Warsaw Pact-era combat equipment like the MiG-29. Hungary has recently committed its Gripens to the multi-national air policing efforts over Slovenia and the Baltic states. Plans are in progress to add an air-to-ground weapons capability to the Hungarian JAS 39 fleet, in order for the aircraft to be deployable in the close air support role.