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Gripen C

HunAF Gripen Pilots Train for Night Flying

2 min read

Throughout 2020, amid the pandemic, the management of the Kecskemét air base of the Hungarian Air Force somehow managed to occasionally welcome visitors (in strict compliance with health rules) to gain insight about what their daily lives are like. 

Besides the usual base operations, the audiences also got a hang of preparations for live shooting, conducted with the support of JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) units, and night-time flying. A post by takes us through the night operations with Gripen at the Kecskemét Air Base.

The night flights begin at twilight and end late at night in complete darkness. During night-time operations, it gets difficult to detect small targets while in the air. Also, owing to safety reasons, shooting at night requires enhanced technology as strikes are carried out at low altitudes. As a result, Litening target container becomes an indispensable tool for these missions as its swivel optics can see even in the dark.

In one of the night operations, the fighters assigned to do machine-gun shooting were parked near the Keszi hangars. The loading and emptying of the machine guns must also be performed cautiously to avoid accidents. No personnel or visitor are allowed to stand in front of the fighters as well during this time. However, the photographers and reporters were able to view the Gripen fighters clearly during breaks between flights.

Out of the 14 Gripen fighters in the Puma squadron, only 4-6 are seen in the zones on most flight days. This is because 2 Gripens are always on standby at the south end of the base, some are in a temporary hanger and 1 or 2 of them are in Sweden for overhaul.

Read the full story here.