Hungarian Air Force (HuAF) - Helicopters
More than 20 billion HUF will be used to overhaul 12 Mi-24 helicopter gunships and one Mi-17 transport helicopter in Russia. There are twelve Russian made Mi-24 helicopters currently undergoing comprehensive modernization in Russia, and will be in service until 2025. The delivery systems of Hungary’s Gripen fighter jets are also set for an upgrade.
The decision on the helicopter procurement of the Hungarian Defence Forces can be taken at the start of the next term of government next year, the Minister of Defence said in the program “Ütközo” of Kossuth Radio on 12 April 2013. Minister Hende said that on taking office, the government had learnt that the renewal and maintenance of HDF helicopters did not meet the required standards, as a result of which a lot of helicopters ceased to be airworthy. The Minister announced that they must find a long-term solution to this problem. They intend to take the relevant decision with the consensus of all political forces, all parliamentary parties, he added.
The Minister explained that currently an international tender is being prepared and discussed by experts in the Ministry of Defence. This tender sets out the requirements and expectations regarding Hungary’s helicopter capabilities for the next four decades, which are needed partly for military and partly for civil purposes, for example disaster management roles. The tender will be discussed with the parliamentary parties and will be announced so that a decision can be made on this issue at the beginning of the next term of government, the Minister said. At the same time, he also noted that budgetary resources must be allocated for this purpose.
Hungary's defence ministry approved the purchase of three upgraded Russian Mi-8T helicopters at a cost of 3 billion forints (EUR 9.7m), the defence minister said in a statement published July 9, 2014 on parliament's website. Csaba Hende responded to a written question submitted on June 23 by Marta Demeter, a lawmaker of the opposition Socialists, in connection with daily Magyar Nemzet reporting on April 3 that the defence ministry had purchased three recently upgraded Russian helicopters. Demeter had asked for details of the purchase, namely who was responsible for making the decision "just days ahead of the Hungarian general election" and how much the helicopters cost.
Hende said that the decision was made by the defence ministry in early 2014. The the purchase contract was signed on February 28 for a price of 2.998 billion forints gross, covered entirely from the ministry's budget, he said. After a full upgrade by the Moscow-based Mil Helicopter Plant bureau between September 2013 and March 2014, the three helicopters were transported to central Hungary's Kecskemet air base in early April. Two of them have already received permissions to be used in service in the Hungarian air force and the authorisation procedure of the third is expected to be completed soon, the ministry said. All three Mi-8Ts are suitable for military and civilian missions, Hende said. Hungary’s defense forces plan to buy 40 new helicopters in the coming years, 1t was revealed 15 January 2018. Tibor Benko, chief of staff of the Hungarian Defense Forces, said the army will define the parameters and capabilities of the new helicopters; the type, the brand, and the cost of them and will be debated and decided by the government. He added that Hungary is not obliged to buy military equipment exclusively from NATO member states. He said that for every NATO country the existence of the desired capabilities is the primary consideration when acquiring new equipment.
“In view of the continuous challenges facing the international security system from both east and south, Hungary is increasing its contribution to NATO’s efforts”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement 12 June 2018. Hungary has begun the modernisation of capacities, and the Hungarian Defence Force is procuring 100 new helicopters at a cost of 100 billion forints (EUR 4.8bn).
On 29 June 2018 the Hungarian Ministry of Defence ordered 20 H145M military helicopters equipped with the innovative HForce weapon management in the frame of the military modernisation programme Zrinyi 2026. Together with the helicopters, Airbus will provide an extensive training and support package. “We are honoured to be of service – once more – to the Hungarian Ministry of Defence whom we today welcome as a new customer for our H145M helicopters. With this new order, we are fostering our excellent and trustful relationship with the Hungarian Armed Forces after their acquisition of two A319 military troop transporters last year. Team Airbus is grateful for the continued trust and confidence that the Hungarian government has placed in our products”, said Tom Enders, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus.
With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 tonnes, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop transport, utility, surveillance, air rescue, armed reconnaissance and medical evacuation. The Hungarian fleet will be equipped with a fast roping system, highperformance camera, fire support equipment, ballistic protection as well as an electronic countermeasures system to support the most demanding operational requirements. The HForce system, developed by Airbus Helicopters, will allow Hungary to equip and operate their aircraft with a large set of ballistic or guided air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons.
On 14 December 2018 the Hungarian Ministry of Defence ordered 16 H225M multi-purpose helicopters equipped with the HForce weapon management system. Together with the helicopters, Airbus will also provide an extensive training and support package to ensure the highest level of operational availability. The H225Ms selected by Hungary will be equipped with state-of-the-art communication capabilities and will be used for transport, combat search and rescue, and special operations missions. Its state-of-the art avionics and four axis autopilot, exceptional range and payload capacities, combined with a large cabin designed to carry up to 28 troops and powerful air-to-ground and air-to-surface armament as well as electronic warfare systems allow the H225M to carry out the most demanding missions. The helicopter has an all-weather capability supported by its night vision goggle compatibility.
“I am thankful for the trust that the Hungarian Government has placed in our company to support its ambitious ‘Zrinyi 2026’ armed forces modernisation programme. Our teams have witnessed the professionalism and enthusiasm of the Hungarian experts and pilots whose contribution has been key to ensuring the success of this project” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “This new contract confirms the H225M as a combat-proven, multi-role platform operated by the most demanding military customers worldwide. The Hungarian armed forces will be able to rely on the cost-efficient H145M / H225M tandem that will enable them to cover all of the major military missions, from light utility, tactical transport, combat search and rescue up to light attack.”
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