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Hungary discussing potential Gripen E buy from Sweden

Already an operator of the Gripen C/D, Hungary is now in discussions to acquire the follow-on Gripen E (pictured) combat aircraft from Sweden. (Saab)

Hungary is discussing with Sweden the possibility of acquiring Gripen E combat aircraft to add to the Gripen C/Ds it already operates, a senior Saab official said on 20 May.

With the Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) flying 14 leased Gripen C/Ds, to which in Februaryit added an order of four additional Gripen C aircraft, Åsa Thegström, vice-president and deputy head of Aeronautics at Saab, told reporters at the company's Linköping production facility in southern Sweden that talks are now being held for a potential sale of the latest Gripen E to the Eastern European country.

“We are having interesting discussions with Hungary regarding the Gripen E,” Thegström said. Deputy head of marketing and sales for the Gripen at Saab, Richard Smith, added that the HuAF is looking at the possible acquisition to fulfil its requirement to get back to two front-line operational squadrons, noting that the timeline for such a procurement is not yet known.

Hungary leased its 14 Gripen C/D aircraft from Sweden in 2001, with the type entering HuAF service in 2006. Saab said on 23 February that it had signed an agreement with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets materielverk: FMV) for four additional Gripen Cs to bring the current fleet to 18 aircraft.

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