A Lift for the Hungarian Air Force
(Source: Swedish Defense Material Agency FMV; Issued Nov 13, 2018)
(Unofficial English translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
Two Hungarian Air Force Gripen C fighters train at Sweden’s test range in Vidsel after being upgraded to the latest MS20 standard. Vidsel offers low-altitude navigation and combat training not available back home. (FMV photo)
It has been an intensive year for FMV's project Gripen Hungary. The project is responsible for delivering the capacity agreed by Hungary in the contract for the Gripen system that Sweden has with Hungary since its delivery in 2006.

Kristian Säf Pernselius is project manager for Gripen Hungary at FMV. The project is responsible for delivery and operating support, from the aircraft itself to maintenance systems and coordination of training for pilots and technicians.

"We are responsible for the delivery of equipment and after-sales support, from the aircraft itself, maintenance systems and coordination of pilots and technician training," he says.

In 2018, FMV has carried out two major activities: a major upgrade of the Hungarian gripping system to version 20, and a two-week long training campaign at T & E in Vidsel, in northern Sweden, where pilots and technicians practiced to fight targets both on the ground and in the air.

Exercise for new capability

At FMV's test site in Vidsel there are many opportunities to practice in the big test area, which attracted the Hungarian Air Force. Previously, both airline and low-traffic combat were trained here, and now the Hungarian Air Force took six Gripen aircraft, with support equipment, technicians and pilots to co-operate against land and air targets.

"Technically, this capability was already available to the airplanes, but now you would like to train the staff and make it work together. It's only then that you can say that you have acquired a certain ability, "says Lennart Zettergren, responsible for training in the FMV export business.



During the two weeks in Vidsel, a series of firing sequences were carried out against both ground and air targets. The Hungarian air force, together with FMV T & E Vidsel personnel, planned the entire campaign and handled its own equipment, such as loading the gun and loading weapon systems such as the GBU12, AGM65 Maverick and RB74 Sidewinder.

"FMV Test and Evaluation, which runs the test site, made every effort to get the kids out as much as possible of the exercise by, among other things, using the day's all hours," says Lennart Zettergren.

"And the youngsters like Vidsel, the opportunities and support available to carry out this type of activity are missing in Hungary.

Upgrade to the latest version

Version 20 is the latest upgrade of the JAS 39 system where the software was now upgraded for Hungarian air force.

"Countries that use the JAS Gripen system do not all get exactly the same capabilities in upgrades, depending on what has been agreed. But on the whole, it is similar to systems in the countries," said Staffan Bogg, FMV’s technical manager for project Gripen to Hungary.

The engine's steering system, the plane's steering system and the avionics system are examples of aircraft parts upgraded via software. There are also new weapons, liaison functions, radar functions and various improvements in the interface between the pilot and the aircraft.

“Much is new. And there are many different contracts that build up the ability and to be coordinated. We have built it up so that we have a contract covering all user countries. An FV Product Representative keeps it and then coordinates the roll-out of capabilities through the export projects. It will make it easier for the countries, as he will be the only contact for them," says Staffan Bogg.

In order for the equipment system to be complete, support and training systems are also required, such as the simulator, Mission Trainer. The old was demolished at the air base in Hungary and replaced with a new one. When installing hardware and software and the verified simulator, the project was faced with a number of problems.

"With such major activities, there are always some difficulties, but the planning from FMV and Saab and the good cooperation between the countries made it possible to get both Vidsel exercise and the upgrading of the Hungarian fleet despite a very tight schedule," says Kristian Säf Pernselius.

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