The technical modernisation of the air force is a priority goal within the armed forces’ technical development programme, the chief of staff said on Tuesday.
Four Zlin light training and reconnaissance aircraft have already been purchased to replace outdated Yak-52 training aircraft and tendering is already under way for the acquisition of another four Zlins, said Tibor Benko in Veszprem, in western Hungary. He added, however, that the Zlins will not be suitable to train pilots for the Gripen fighter planes, so additional aircraft will be needed for that purpose.
The system of fixed-wing air cargo transport will be modernised and a general overhaul of Mi-17 transport helicopters and Mi-24 attack helicopters has partly been carried out and will continue. Plans are also afoot to purchase new or almost new helicopters. Radars and anti-aircraft radar units will also need to be modernised in order to efficiently complement the Gripens’ abilities to protect Hungarian airspace.
Benko said Hungary’s air force has stood the test in the Fire Blade 2017, Load Diffuser 2017 and Saber Guardian 2017 exercises and will also be involved in the upcoming Carpathian Hawk 2017 exercise. The largest and most comprehensive defence and army development programme of the past twenty-five years started at the beginning of 2017, the chief of staff said.