Hungarian Air Force

The Hungarian Air Force is the air force branch of the Hungarian Army.


1918 - Pre-World War II

Following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1918, a small air arm was established operating surviving aircraft from Hungarian factories and training schools. This air arm became the Hungarian Red Air Force under the short lived Hungarian Soviet Republic, but was disbanded upon its downfall.

World War II

Under the Treaty of Trianon (1920), Hungary was forbidden from owning military aircraft. However, a secret air arm was gradually established under the cover of civilian flying clubs. During 1938, the existence of the air force (Légierö) was made known. The air arm was reorganized and expanded. On January 1 1939, it became independent of the army. It subsequently participated in clashes with the newly established Slovak Republic and in the border confrontation with Romania. In April 1941, operations were conducted in support of the German invasion of Yugoslavia and, on June 27 1941, Hungary declared war on the Soviet Union. On March 1 1942, the air force was returned to army control. In the summer of 1942 an air brigade was attached to the Luftwaffe's VIII Fliegerkorps on the Eastern Front. Beginning March 1944, Allied bomber raids began on Hungary and progressively increased in intensity. Late in 1944 all efforts were redirected towards countering the advancing Soviet Army, but to no avail. All fighting in Hungary ended on April 16 1945.

Post-World War II - Present

A small air arm was organised along Soviet lines during 1947. Following the communist takeover, Russian military aid was stepped-up and a major expansion program initiated. When Soviet forces invaded in November 1956 to suppress the national uprising, sections of the Hungarian Air Force attacked Soviet forces and resisted Russian attempts to occupy their bases. The resistance was short-lived and the air force was demobilized soon after. A reconstituted air arm was reformed in the following year, but initially only as an internal security force. Gradually, the air force was expanded again, but it remained an integral part of the army and was essentially a defensive force. During the 1990s all combat aircraft were fitted with new Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems to enable operations in western airspace. In April 2002, Hungary joined the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) pilot training program.

Present day

The current Hungarian Air Force is primarily just for defensive purposes. The flying units of the air force are organised into a single command, Air Command.

Air Bases

There are 2 active Air Force bases (AFB) and 4 Reserve AFB in Hungary.



Air Wings

Currently, there are only 4 operational, and 1 recently disbanded, air wings in the Air Force.

  • 59. "Szentgyörgyi Dezső" Harcászati Repülőbázis (59th Tactical Plane Base) based at Kecskemét AFB
    • 'Puma' Harcászati Repülőszázad ('Puma' Tactical Squadron)
    • 'Dongó' Harcászati Repülőszázad ('Bumblebee' Tactical Squadron)
    • Szállító Repülőszázad (Transport Plane Squadron)
  • 86. "Szolnok" Helikopterezred (86th Helicopter Regiment) based at Szolnok AFB.
    • Szállitóhelikopter Zászlóalj (Transport Helicopter Battalion)
    • Harcihelikopter Zászlóalj (Attack Helicopter Battalion) (DISBANDED)
    • Kiképző Repülőszázad (Training Plane Squadron) (based at Szolnok AFB)
  • 12. Légvédelmi Rakétadandár (12th Air Defense Missile Brigade)
  • 1. Logisztikai és Támogató Zászlóalj (1st Logistic and Support Battalion)
  • Pápa AFB

59. "Szentgyörgyi Dezső" Harcászati Repülőbázis

The 59th Tactical Fighter Wing is the fixed-winged part of the Air Force. The 59th consists of 2 Fighter plane Squadrons, 1 Transport Squadron, and a Training Squadron.

Harcászati Repülőszázad
There are two Fighter Squadrons in the 59th Wing, the "Puma" and "Dongó" [wasp] Squadrons. Both operate the same type of aircraft.

The Hungarian Air Force is leasing-buying 14 JAS 39 Gripens, 2 of which are dual-seaters, for 12 years beginning in 2006. By December 2007 all the 14 jets had been delivered.

After the lease period Hungary will own the Gripens.

Szállitó Repülőszázad
This is the transport squadron of the 59th Wing. They operate:

The An-26s are due to be replaced by new transport planes by 2010.

86. "Szolnok" Helikopterezred

The 86th Wing is the helicopter regiment of the Hungarian Air Force. The 86th consists of one Transport and one Attack battalion.
Szállitóhelikopter Zászlóalj
This is the transport helicopter battalion of the 86th Wing. They operate:

Harcihelikopter Zászlóalj
This is the attack helicopter battalion of the 86th Wing. This unit has recently been disbanded and a new regiment, in combination with the transport helicopters, will be formed. They operated:

Kiképző Repülőszázad
This is the training squadron of the 86th Wing. This squadron is already based at Szolnok AFB again. They operate:

12. Légvédelmi Rakétadandár

The 12th Air Defense Missile Brigade is in charge of providing air defense to Hungary.

1. Logisztikai és Támogató Zászlóalj

The 1st Logistic and Support Battalion was established on October 1 2000 by the Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF). Its goal is to provide the operating conditions of the Air Force Command, as well as organizing and executing the related activities. Conducting garrison duties, executing a partially independent financial management, and supplying the designated military organization. Procuring, storing, handling and maintaining the material stocks of the HDF Air Force Command and the Regiment, and preparing the subordinate units by establishing the basis for higher readiness level.

Pápa AFB

Pápa Air Force Base was established as a military organization on July 1 2001 as a part of national commitments in the NATO Infrastructural Development Program, and it is the legal successor of the HDF 47th Pápa Tactical Fighter Regiment.

Aircraft Inventory

! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Aircraft ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Origin ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Type ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Versions ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|In active service ! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Notes |----- | Antonov An-26 Curl || || tactical transport || An-26 || 5 || Fifth plane recently added to fleet to allow constant Iraq and Afghanistan resupply operations |----- | Saab JAS 39 Gripen || || fighter || JAS 39C
JAS 39D || 12
2 || |----- | Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum || || fighter
trainer || MiG-29
MiG-29UB || 4
1 || A further 13 available for short-term reactivation, the rest cannibalized for parts (originally there were 28 in service) |----- | Mil Mi-8 Hip || || transport helicopter || Mi-8
Mi-17 || 16
7 || All Mi-17s will be upgraded, more new transport helicopters will be ordered in 2011. |----- | Mil Mi-24 Hind || || attack helicopter || Mi-24D
Mi-24P || 20
29 || few Mi-24P variants are operational if any |----- | Aero L-39 Albatros || || trainer || L-39ZA || 8 || originally there were 19 in service, to be replaced by L-159 ALCAs in 2009. |----- | Yakovlev Yak-52 || || trainer || Yak-52 || 11 || |}

There are also a number of Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed's, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Flogger's, Sukhoi Su-22 Fitter-F's and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum's in stock. These are being stored open air and no longer airworthy.

Aircraft markings

The Hungarian aircraft marking is a set of aligned triangles which points toward the front of the aircraft. They are the same colour as the Hungarian flag, red, white, and green. The innermost triangle is green, follow by white, and then red. It is displayed on the side of helicopters and in the standard four wing positions on aircraft. It was used by the Royal Hungarian Air Force until 1942, and then reinstated after the Second World War. The new Gripen fighters will wear a NATO standard compliant grey-on-grey (low-visibility) version of the Hungarian triangle insignia.


The 86th "Szolnok" Helikopterezred maintains the Museum of Hungarian Aviation, which has the largest collection of "retired" Airforce craft. Some aircraft are also displayed at the Kecel Military History Park.



Kecskemét AFB

Szolnok AFB

Pápa AFB

Hungarian MiG-29B

Hungarian JAS-39C/D Grippen

Hungarian AN-26

Hungarian Mi-8

Hungarian Mi-24


External links

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