The maiden flight of the first Hungarian dual seat Gripen aircraft took yesterday afternoon at Saab`s plant in Linköping. The aircraft, which was flown by a test pilot from Saab, was painted with the new low-visibility Hungarian national insignia on the aircraft.
“This test flight is yet another important milestone for the Hungarian project and demonstrates that the production of Gripen aircrafts for Hungary is continuing according to plan” – said Mats Hansson FMV Program Director for the Gripen for Hungary program.
Following this maiden flight, the aircraft now enters a period of ground and flight-testing to verify that all systems are operating in accordance with the Hungarian Gripen configuration plan.
This is the first of two Gripen dual seat aircraft, together with 12 singel-seat Gripen aircrafts, that Hungary will lease for a period of 10 years, before taking ownership of the aircrafts under the terms of the agreement signed between the Swedish and Hungarian authorities in February 2003. Deliveries of the 14 Gripen aircraft to Hungary will take place between March 2006 and December 2007.
Hungarian pilots and technicians have been undergoing training - in Sweden with the Swedish Air Force, from the beginning of 2005 and are scheduled to return to Hungary ahead of the arrival of the first Gripen aircraft in March 2006.