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.
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