Hungary to Convert Lease-financed Gripen Jets to Fully Owned by 2026

Since 2006, Hungary has operated twelve Gripen C series and two Gripen D series aircraft
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 11:48 AM, February 27, 2024
  • 733
Hungary to Convert Lease-financed Gripen Jets to Fully Owned by 2026
Hungarian Gripen fighter

Hungary has outlined its intention to convert 12 JAS39 Gripen jets, initially obtained through a lease-financing arrangement, into fully owned assets by 2026.

The formalization of the procurement agreement for four new Gripen aircraft took place on February 23 during the visit of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Minister for Defence Pål Jonson to Budapest. As per information released by the Swedish defense ministry, these new jets will be acquired through a direct purchase basis.

The original contract for Hungary's initial 14 Gripen fighters was signed in 2001. Since 2006, Hungary has been utilizing Swedish Gripen aircraft, encompassing twelve Gripen C series and two Gripen D series (the two-seat version). The existing fleet of fourteen aircraft, currently under a lease-purchase agreement, is expected to smoothly transition to full ownership by Hungary in the early months of 2026.

In addition to securing ownership of the existing fleet, Hungary plans to bolster its air defense capabilities by procuring an additional four Gripen aircraft. This procurement will increase the total number of aircraft in Hungary's Gripen fleet to 18.

As part of the agreement's terms, Sweden will continue to provide support and logistics for the Gripen aircraft from 2026 to 2036.

On Monday, Hungary's parliament voted 188-6 to finally ratify Sweden's NATO membership, ending over 18 months of delays. The decision came after persistent efforts by Hungary's allies to persuade its nationalist government to lift its block, making Hungary the last of the 31 NATO members to provide backing after Turkey's recent approval.

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