skip to main content

Interview: Major General Nandor Kilian, Chief of the Hungarian Air Force

Major General Nandor Kilian. (Alan Warnes)

Modernisation of the Hungarian Air Force (HuAF), a programme known as Zrínyi 2026, has been one of the main objectives of the service's commander, Major General Nandor Kilian, since taking on the role in 2019.

“The objectives of Zrínyi 2026 is to ensure the HuAF is a modern forward-thinking military that can defend itself and contribute to the needs of NATO,” the general told Janes.

Much of the work started in September 2018, with the first of eight Mil Mi-24V ‘Hind' helicopters being returned to service after overhaul with the 419 Aviation Repair Facility (ARZ) in St Petersburg, Russia. With Russian sanctions, getting the necessary spare parts is a problem, and Maj Gen Kilian is seeking a solution to ensure that the Hinds keep flying.

“The Mi-24s [are to] remain in service until 2025/26 [under the current overhaul schedule], and we were looking at acquiring more rockets and missiles like the short-range Rafael Spike [Extended Range] ER 2 air-to-surface missile, which is equipping our [Airbus Helicopters] H145Ms and H225Ms.”

Maj Gen Kilian continued, “In theory, the Mi-24Vs could operate up until 2032,and what we wanted to do in co-operation with Russia was integrate the Spike ER into the helicopter alongside the modification of old wiring and new computers, but that is unlikely to happen now.”

On the Airbus H145M helicopters, the commander added, “We now have all 20 H145Ms delivered – five have been configured for search-and-rescue [SAR], five for attack with the HForce [modular weapon systems developed by Airbus], and 10 for utility. These will soon be joined by 16 H225M multi-purpose helicopters that will also span the SAR (fitted with a hoist), HForce, and utility roles.”

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...