Jul 17, 2014
Hungarian Air Force To Issue Helo Tender to replace MI-17
The country has a national requirement for a fleet of light and medium helicopters not only for the air force but also for use by paramilitary organizations for missions such as search and rescue.
The air force has a need to replace the current fleet of 10 Russian-built Mil Mi-17s and Mi-8s, which the air arm is struggling to maintain and get parts for. The shortfall was partially alleviated with the recent arrival of a trio of secondhand Mi-8s from Russia.
Back in December 2011, the U.S. offered to donate 32 former Marine Corps UH-1N Hueys for use by the Hungarian armed forces, but when officials studied the deal and the likely maintenance cost of the aircraft, they reported that the country would be better off buying new, modern helicopters instead.
Last year the air force also unexpectedly retired its fleet of Mi-24 attack helicopters, now in storage.
The air force is also looking at options to replace its pair of aging Antonov An-26 transport aircraft, but the helicopters will be the first fleet to be renewed.
The country also has great ambitions for its small fleet of Saab JAS 39 Gripens, which are leased from Sweden.
Hungary has 12 single-seat JAS 39s and a pair of twin-seat JAS 39Ds used for training that entered service in 2006. Currently the air force mainly uses the aircraft for quick-reaction alert, defending the airspace of Hungary but also Northern Slovenia. They also have a limited ground-attack role with the AGM-65 Maverick.