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Category: FEATURED

Hungarian Air Force Gripen recently practiced familiarization flights in Estonia and getting ready to participate in a future NATO mission, which is to protect the airspace over the Baltic countries.

Hungarian ambassador to Helsinki and designated ambassador to Estonia Kristóf Forrai, attended the visit of the two Hungarian Gripen fighters on 10 December.

According to a press release, Ambassador Forrai expressed the firm commitment of Hungary to take part in the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission. He stressed that Hungary considers the security and peace of Estonia and the entire Baltic region extremely important.

Ambassador Forrai met the Chief of Staff of Estonian Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Riivo Valge and the Commander of Ämari Air Base Lieutenant Colonel Rauno Sirk.

“Estonia is glad that the South European part of NATO is participating in the NATO mission in Northern Europe. We appreciate that the Hungarians are aware of the threats in the recently changed security situation in Europe and that they care for our problems,” Lieutenant Colonel Riivo Valge said.

The Hungarian Air Force team participating in this mission consists of four Gripen and 90 personnel.  The Hungarian Air Force Gripen will patrol the Baltic sky for four months in 2015 and will be stationed at Zokniai Air Base, Lithuania.

Read the full story: Visit of Hungarian Gripen fighters in Estonia​

​It is a Swedish Air Force Flight School tradition to send a Christmas greeting from above, by flying in a Christmas tree formation. 

Normally twelve SK 60 training aircraft take to the skies and make a formation that looks like a Christmas tree. This year, for the first time, the SK 60s will have company as two Gripen fighters may join, reports Corren.

christmas1.jpg12.jpgThe formation will fly at a speed of 375 km/h, at an altitude of about 400 meters, with five meters between each plane. Flight instructors will fly the aircraft with students as passengers. 

According to the report, the only threat to the planned flight can be the weather.

“If the cloud base gets too low, we will have to cancel,” says Michael Rosenquist, deputy manager of Flight School at Malmen.

Read the full story: Gripen dekorerar granen

Photo Courtesy: Jan Basilius/Försvarsmakten (The images and video are of the previous year and hence do not include Gripen)

​Gripen pilots from Swedish Air Force Wing F21 practiced with laser guided bombs in an exercise last week, reports Forsvarsmakten.

According to the report, the annual defense budget increase has given the Armed Forces possibility to increase the amount of flight hours, strengthen the incident standby capacity and to practice more.

Fighter Squadron at F21 has therefore been able to drop laser guided bombs over Vidsel firing range- there were two ship formations of Gripen who dropped one bomb each.

“With advanced systems, we need to practice a lot. So this extra training session is particularly welcome,” says division manager Tobhias Wikström.

Read the full story: Precision i målet

This year, together with the Czech Air Force detachment of five Gripen fighter aircraft and about 70 personnel, Lieutenant Jan Veselý moved to Keflavik Airbase, Iceland to ensure NATO’s Iceland Air Surveillance mission. It was his first mission as a fighter controller outside his home country.

According to Lieutenant Veselý, in some ways, the tasks that he performed during this mission were similar to the ones he performs back home at Čáslav. However, during this mission, he worked in close coordination with his colleagues from the Iceland Coast Guard in the Iceland CRC – call sign LOKI – which provides overall air surveillance.

"In general, I expected more action here; it is a bit calmer than in the Czech Republic,” he says hinting at the two training scrambles the Czech Gripen conducted every day. 

Lieutenant Veselý was the most impressed with the aspect of interoperability saying that the daily work at CRC LOKI was very helpful for him and his colleagues. 

"It is not only that we all have to speak English. There are also different mentalities here. And last, but not least, I did not know the controlling standards they use here at Iceland,” he says.

"What I will take home is that I can use the standards I was trained to in the Czech Republic in any future mission in any NATO country,” he adds.

Read the full story: Czech Fighter Controller augments Iceland Air Traffic Control for NATO Mission​

Image Courtesy: Christian Timmig ​

F 7 Såtenäs, Skaraborgs Flygflottilj, the Swedish Air Wing which was established in 1940, will celebrate its 75 years in 2015, reports Airshowinfo.

The Såtenäs estate was chosen for its good location and close proximity to suitable target ranges. According to the report, F7 stepped into the jet age in 1957, with the Saab 29 Tunnan, and from 1973 to 1993, AJ 37 Viggen served the Air Force.

In 1993, one squadron at F7 was converted to the Gripen A/B and by 1997, the other squadrons followed suit. The Wing received its first C/D version of the Gripen in 2010 and the complete conversion happened by 2012. Now, the Wing is the main hub of the Gripen trainings. All pilots who fly Gripen aircraft are trained at F 7.

The F7 has 4 squadrons at the moment. Three fighter squadrons, equipped with Gripen C/D jets are called the 71 Fightng Squadron (Gustav Red), the 72 Fighting Squadron (Gustav Blue) and the 73 Fighting Squadron (Gustav Yellow). 

Read the full story:  F7 Airbase at Såtenäs, Sweden will celebrate it's 75 years in 2015

​Amidst beautiful sea shores and the icy, rocky terrain of Iceland, Czech Air Force Gripen pilots completed their three month long mission.

Five Gripen fighter aircraft along with 80 air and ground personnel from the Czech Air Force were deployed to monitor the airspace of Iceland till 3 December.

Čáslav pilots have successfully completed their mission in Iceland, flying over volcanoes, glaciers and waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They also have chalked up more than a hundred takeoffs from the Keflavík Air Base. Martin Nezbeda, Commanding Officer of the Czech mission, in an interview with, talks about his experience and how flying was different in Iceland because of the terrain and climatic conditions of the country.   

Iceland is a beautiful country, but we have been running flat out, which means we do not leave the base very often and there is hardly a chance to enjoy the charm of the island. Perhaps a glimpse from the cockpit every now and then. After all, this is not a package tour – the price for even the smallest distraction or inattention may be high, he says.                                                                        Meteorologists mention downright extreme flying conditions in Iceland. What would you say?

Martin Nezbeda: It may look more dramatic on camera shots or photographs than it actually is. However, the fact is that Iceland is a country with active volcanoes and many thermal geysers or lava flows. At the same time, there are large glaciers as well. A fairly different environment from what we have in Central Europe. Of course, our training ...

Today is the last day for the Czech Air Force detachment’s Iceland air surveillance mission this year. The team would fly home to Čáslav tomorrow.

According to Captain Jiri Cermak from the Czech Air Force Detachment at Iceland, during this mission, they had a new experience of refueling with the longest ferry flight in the Czech Air Force history.

As Iceland does not have its own national air force, NATO members deploy fighters to meet the country’s air defence needs on a rotational basis, three times a year.

​Aviation blog interviewed Csaba Ugrik, Hungarian Air Base Commander, who talked in detail about the activities at the air base this year. The Commander outlined the Gripen team’s success at the Tiger Meet and the JAWTEX and the importance of the participation in the air policing of Slovenia. ​


Csaba Ugrik, Hungarian Air Base Commander

“This year's tasks included the Slovenian airspace protection mission. The earlier co-operation agreement was extended in January and was signed here at the air base. The idea behind the extension was to avoid the requirement of prior authorization for an armed military aircraft to enter the Slovenian airspace,” the Hungarian Commander said.

Commander Ugrik also informed the reporter about the reactivation of the Dongo squadron due to the arrival of young team members.

“This year was not easy, but the next will be even more hectic. The activities in 2015 include the air surveillance mission of the Baltics,” he said.

Read the full story: Évről évre, feladatról feladatra

​HQ Aircom recently published some more pictures of the Czech detachment and their hosts of the Icelandic Coast Guard at the Keflavik International Airport/Coast Guard Operations Centre.

The five Czech Air Force Gripen fighters have been deployed to provide Airborne Surveillance and interception capabilities to meet Iceland's Peacetime Preparedness Needs.

Photo Courtesy: Christian Timmig​

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