Hungarian Gripens to get IRIS-T air-to-air guided missile

Hungarian Gripen IRIS missile
Hungarian Air Force Gripen fighter aircraft.

The Hungarian Air Force Gripen C/D fighter aircraft will shortly be armed with modern air-to-air missiles, according to the Hungarian media Portfolio.

Hungary signed a purchase agreement for IRIS-T missiles on Friday with German manufacturer Diehl BGT Defense.

Government Commissioner for Defense Development Gáspár Maróth said the acquisition of the new weapon, coupled with the upcoming modernization of the Gripen will allow the nation's combat fleet to meet the highest standards of the 21st century.

Thanks to the helmet-mounted aiming system, the infrared self-guided IRIS-T missile can be used by the Gripen pilot in the midst of a large overload, where the current Sidewinder missile is not suitable, according to Maróth.

Compared to Sidewinder missiles, the pilot can also launch the IRIS-T with a large angular deviation, which means that the target does not necessarily have to be in front of the aircraft. Integration of the Helmet Mounted Sight (HMS) is planned as part of the forthcoming modernization.

The new weapon will allow the Hungarian Air Force to reintroduce the capability it lost with the withdrawal of the MiG-29. The Russian-made fighter was equipped with the R-73 infrared guided missile, which inspired the development of the IRIS-T.

Gripen's so-called MS20 Block II modernization program will also significantly improve Beyond Visual Range combat capability and air-to-ground weapon type, Maróth added.

Gáspár Maróth said in late August that Hungary would not purchase fifth-generation fighters for the time being, but would instead modernize its Gripen fleet, the first step of which involves purchasing a software update. The Gripen has been in service in Hungary since 2006.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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