For the forthcoming, November, issue of AFM, Lt Col István Toperczer watched the Hungarian Air Force’s latest exercise in Vidsel, Sweden, to see its Gripens deliver live air-to-ground munitions for the first time.
JAS 39 Gripen fighters of the Magyar Légierő (Hungarian Air Force, HUNAF) attended this summer’s Légi Fölény 2018 (Air Superiority 2018) live weapons delivery exercise in Vidsel, Sweden, their fourth such visit.
At previous events at Vidsel, HUNAF pilots trained for close air support (CAS), but have now procured Litening IIIG targeting pods and developed a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) capability. Their jets’ air-to-ground weapons include AGM-65H and AGM-65G-2 Maverick missiles and 500lb (227kg) Mk82 ‘dumb’ and GBU-12 precision-guided bombs.
The Hungarian pilots completed planned air-to-air sorties by the middle of their two-week stay in Vidsel, having also had the chance to use air-to-ground munitions in the first week. On June 13, single AGM-65H and AGM-65G-2 missiles from the Gripens hit heated target containers on the range.
The next day the jets dropped single inert and live GBU-12 laser-guided and Mk82 dumb bombs; the former had to find their container targets while the Mk82 drops used stretched canvases as targets.
The LGBs were controlled by self-lasing and – with JTACs talking to the pilots – buddy-lasing. Practising these skills is a prerequisite to reach full operational capability in the CAS role.
The full article will appear in the November issue of AFM, on sale from October 18.