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CZECH REPUBLIC AND HUNGARY CONSIDERING JOINT GRIPEN SQUADRON
Friday, March 25, 2016
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.Source: Gripen International


Source: Gripen International


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NEWTOWN, Conn. - Attempts to bolster regional defense cooperation continue to mushroom across Europe, with the latest such proposal coming in the form of a joint air squadron between the Czech Republic and Hungary. Both Central European countries operate the JAS-39 Gripen combat aircraft produced by Saab, making any cross-maintenance and operational use a smooth transition.

The Czech Republic operates 14 under a renewed lease with Saab inked on March 12, 2014, that will run through 2027. Hungary, meanwhile, also has a lease for 14 Gripens that was renewed on January 30, 2012, and extends out to 2022. A potential third partner in the regional air-defense Gripen squadron, Slovakia, is expected to explore its own leasing arrangement with Saab in the wake of Prime Minister Robert Fico's leftist government's victory in the March 5 election.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have long considered a joint air combat element. Back in 2002, the concept was publicly proposed by former Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda and then-Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla in 2002 under the sobriquet "Joint Skies project". By April 2014 the two countries had reached an agreement aiming towards coordinating their respective air forces to conduct joint air patrols. Brining a third party into the arrangement would bolster and add an element to the Visograd Group (or V4, including Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) defense element.

Source:  Defense News
Associated URL: Click here to visit
Author: D. Darling, Europe Analyst 

 

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