Hungary’s Purchase of Swedish Fighter Jets Reinforces NATO Ties

Hungarian Acquisition of Swedish Fighter Jets

This article was last updated on February 23, 2024

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Hungary Plans to Purchase Swedish Manufactured Fighter Jets

In a landmark decision signaling the convergence of international relations and defense strategy, Hungary has announced its intentions to acquire four Swedish fighter jets. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, disclosed this plan in a recent announcement. Emphasizing the restored trust between the two nations, Orbán noted the development could pave the way for Sweden’s accession to NATO membership. Kristersson journeyed to Budapest after Orbán specified that having him visit Hungary was a prerequisite for agreement on Sweden’s admission into NATO. The interpersonal exchange between the two political leaders led to the revelation of Hungary’s plans: a major purchase of four JAS39 Gripen fighter aircraft, produced by renowned Swedish company Saab.

Hungary’s Commitment to NATO

Addressing the media at a joint press conference with Kristersson, Orbán expressed his confidence in the deal’s potential impacts on Hungary’s air defense capabilities. “We are not only expected to maintain our air defense capabilities but to magnify them,” he declared. “Therefore, our commitment to NATO will be reinforced, influencing our contribution to the joint operations within NATO.” Welcoming Hungary’s decision, Kristersson noted that while both countries – Hungary and Sweden – may not always converge on every issue, cooperation where feasible is essential.

Hungary Expected to Vote on Sweden’s NATO Accession

In the wake of the Russian onslaught, both Sweden and Finland have publicly declared their ambition to secure NATO membership. Although Turkey and Hungary had initially opposed Sweden’s application for a significant duration, Turkey amended its position later this year. Following suit, Orbán also voiced his support for Sweden’s membership, with Hungary’s parliament scheduled to formally vote on the matter on Monday. Earlier this year, the Hungarian government publicly supported Sweden’s bid to join NATO while expressing hope for Kristersson’s visit – an aspiration fulfilled on Friday. Assuming Hungary’s parliament consents on Monday, Hungary’s president will then have to sign off on the decision to finalize it. However, there is currently a vacancy in the Hungarian presidential office following the recent resignation of Katalin Novák. Until a new president is elected, László Kövér, who, according to SVT Nyheter, is known for his opposition to Sweden’s NATO accession, will function as the interim president. However, it is unlikely that his temporary capacity will lead to any obstacles.


Overall, Hungary’s acquisition of Swedish fighter jets represents a landmark in international relations, signifying renewed trust and cooperation. The move is expected to enhance Hungary’s air defense capabilities, thereby amplifying its contribution to NATO.

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