Two Eurofighter Typhoons from the RAF’s 1 (Fighter) Squadron and Saab JAS-39 Gripen jets flown by the Hungarian Air Force Puma Tactical Fighter Squadron have been conducting bilateral training from Kecskemét Air Base in Hungary. This is the first time RAF Typhoons and Hungarian Gripens have trained together in this way and aims to strengthen a growing defence relationship between the UK and Hungary. Gaining first-hand experience of working together will lead to a better understanding of capabilities and increased co-operation in the air and among ground crews.
Squadron Leader Ellis Williams leading the RAF detachment said: “We have two Typhoon jets and there are quite a few of the Gripens so every day we are looking to do both visual combat [training] and beyond visual range work. We work to the same rules and tactics, so to operate with a different nation is quite comforting that we are doing the same thing. It is exciting with the different aeroplanes, the different group of people, but ultimately we are all growing, we are all maturing as pilots, we are exchanging ideas, and we are exchanging tactics, so it is really great.”
Captain Jozsef Papp of the Hungarian Air Force said: “It is really good to see a different aircraft, what the guys are doing in the air, what is the cooperation and its giving a really good experience.”
The 1 Sqn Typhoons are normally based at RAF Lossiemouth but are currently deployed to Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base, Romania, to conduct enhanced air policing, as a part of NATO’s assurance measures, introduced in 2014. Sqn Ldr Williams said: “With Operation Biloxi we are in Romania carrying out air policing and within that we are taking opportunities to train and engage with other nations. For example, we have recently come back from Croatia where we did a similar thing with its MiG-21 aircraft and we get the privilege of being here for a week with the Gripens to train together, so it is all part of a four-month detachment in Romania.”