Two newly acquired multi-purpose Airbus A319 arrived at Kecskemét airbase

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Two newly acquired multi-purpose Airbus A319 transport aircraft have arrived at Kecskemét airbase from the Czech Republic where they underwent extensive modification. Photo: Sándor Ujvári / MTI

In a press-conference held at the Kecskemét airbase Defence Minister István Simicskó said expanding air transport capability of the Hungarian Armed Forces was strategic importance.

The acquisition of the two transport aircraft, is one of the key elements of the "Zrínyi 2016" military modernization program.

The minister stressed that the defense of the country is a national matter, therefore, in order to guarantee the security of the country, the Hungarian Defense Forces will continue acquiring more modern weapon systems in the coming years.

Simicskó explained that the "Zrínyi 2026" modernization program is designed to improve current military capabilities and available firepower in a timely manner, along a well thought-out strategy.

In addition to the two recently acquired transport aircraft, there is a need for medium-sized military transport aircraft as well.

Soon, procedures for acquiring new helicopters will commence. The Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters [currently undergoing extensive modernization in Russia ed.] will remain in service for eight more years, but after that the Hungarian Defence Force plans to acquire new ones.

The goal is to make the Hungarian army a decisive force in the region to be able to effectively defend the sovereignty of the country the minister said.

In addition to the 30,000 strong professional defence force the ministry plans to set up a 20,000 reserve force.

The two Airbus A-319 are 8-9 years old but they are in excellent condition and are ready to serve the Hungarian Defense Forces in years to come said the minister.

On four continents, about one thousand Hungarian troops serve under NATO command, so their transportation is a fundamental necessity.

The purchase of the aircraft preceded by market research and negotiations. A new Airbus A-319 cost between 70 and 80 million euros each; but the Armed Forces acquired the two aircraft for less than half of that price, the minister added.

For the time being the Russian built An-26 transport aircraft will also remain is service. As long as they are able to perform their duties safely, they will fly. As the chief of staff said, "we do not waste, we do not throw usable equipment out".

Chief of Staff Tibor Benkő said: equipped with special military applications such as communications, navigation and defense systems, the Airbus A-319 will function as a multi-purpose troop carrier.

The aircraft can carry large number of troops and their personal equipment safely around four continents. Thanks to the modular interior design of the aircraft, they are also capable of carrying out rescue missions as well.

Regarding the Russian built An-26 air-planes, Benkő noted that they would be assigned specific tasks; they are well-suited for use in the Open Skies contracts and for making aerial photographs.

(MTI -


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